FOUR cures for hepatitis C have become available for about $38 for general patients on prescription under a $1 billion decision to list them as subsidised medicines.
Health Minister Sussan Ley said the decision, which came into effect yesterday, could save some patients up to $100,000 for treatment and concession card holders could access the cures for just $6.20.
Hepatitis Australia chief Helen Tyrell said while the funding was good news, the government also needed to run a public awareness campaign on the disease and potential treatments.
Ms Tyrell said people aged 40 years old or older risked progressing from early stage liver disease to the more serious cirrhosis, liver cancer or liver failure, as early liver disease often went without symptoms.
"It is vital that the message goes out loud and clear that there has never been a better time to treat and cure hepatitis C," she said.
One in every 100 Australians has hepatitis C, and it causes 700 deaths a year.
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