The disease which is now called Hepatitis C used to be called Non-A Non-B Hepatitis when I was a newcomer to the medical scene. Hepatitis A and B were already known, but other types of hepatitis viruses weren't detected at that time. Non-A Non-B Hepatitis used to be incurable and a dreadful infectious disease. After a while, another hepatitis virus was discovered and it was named Hepatitis C. Though it was detected, the treatment of the hepatitis induced by Hepatitis C virus was extremely difficult and lots of patients were killed. About 10 years ago, the efficacy of the interferon against Hepatitis C was recognized and the treatment by the interferon started, but the therapy was to force the patients into enduring agony.
However, the present treatment for Hepatitis C is just taking tablets for several weeks. According to the lecture, which I signed up for today, the lecturer, who is a liver disease specialist, told us that the Hepatitis C virus would be eradicated in near future in Japan, but that would be impossible in the U.S. Do you know why?
If you are treated in Japan, the treatment for the Hepatitis C costs around 5, 000, 000 yen (50,000 US$), but due to the universal healthcare system and the national grant you only have to pay around 50,000 yen (500 US$). On the other hand in the States, it is apparently only 5% of the patients to be able to undergo decent treatments due to financial issues. The other 95% of the patients bearing Hepatitis C virus are left untouched. I hope that the universal healthcare system will survive the wave of the TPP.