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Georgia announces free treatment of Hepatitis C

By Thea Mariamidze
Thursday, April 23
The government of Georgia and the American biotechnology company Gilead signed a memorandum of understanding on April 21.

The contract is a set up of a new health project Georgia without Hepatitis C, analog of which has never been implemented.

The project will help to reduce and prevent Hepatitis C cases in Georgia. The main goal of the project is make the disease from being highly contagious and not uncommon to a very rare condition in several years.

The treatment is free for the citizens of Georgia, but the patients must meet certain criteria to get into the project.

All applicants must have done necessary laboratory researches and after the appropriate results, the special commission will decide if the applicant fits the project.

Pre-treatment researches are chargeable, but for socially vulnerable people they will be free and for ordinary patients the Health Ministry will fund 30% of research costs.

The contract implies the supplement of Georgia with the new generation C hepatitis medicines Sofosbuvir and Havron.

The first batch of the medicines will be brought to Georgia in the following days and are expected to be enough to treat 5,000 people, who are the most affected.

Overall, 20, 000 Hepatitis C patients will be treated according to the agreement.

According to the Minister of Labor, Healthcare and Social Welfare, Davit Sergeenko, in order to make the project transparent, the special commission will monitor the process.

He said that Georgia is lucky to be chosen for the implementation of such a project, because these medicines are too expensive and the cost of the whole course for one person is on average between 80, 00-100, 000 dollars.

“The task of the government is to assist with the prevention and reduction of Hepatitis C, and also the stigmatization of the disease, which was referred to as a very shameful disease before,” Sergeenko stated.

The Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili also attended the ceremony of signature.

He thanked the US Center of Disease Control and the American biotechnology company Gilead and stated that Georgia will be the first country in the world which will totally eliminate Hepatitis C.

“This program is a great success for the government in which the biggest contribution has the Health Minister Davit Sergeenko,” the PM said.

He also noted that for the recent years health care has significantly improved in the country.