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NVHR: New Data Finding Fewer than 1 in 5 Hepatitis C Patients Receiving Antiviral Therapy is 'Wake-Up Call' for Washington
Date:11/24/2009

WASHINGTON, Nov. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New peer-reviewed data finding that fewer than one-fifth of the nearly 4 million Americans infected with chronic hepatitis C virus have received anti-viral therapy in recent years should be a wake-up call that Congress needs to move urgently on bipartisan legislation to support new state-based detection, research, and surveillance efforts, the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) said today.

The NVHR warns that without congressional action, millions of Americans infected with chronic hepatitis C virus - particularly African Americans - are at serious risk of developing cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure and will add billions of dollars in unnecessary costs to our health care system every year.

The NVHR is a coalition of more than 150 public, private, and voluntary organizations dedicated to reducing the incidence of infection, morbidity, and mortality from viral hepatitis in the United States through strategic planning, leadership, coordination, advocacy, and research. www.nvhr.org

"These shocking data should serve as a wake-up call that current public-health detection, treatment, and surveillance efforts for chronic hepatitis C viral infection are wholly inadequate," said NVHR Chair Lorren Sandt. "In terms of detection and treatment, the proverbial low-hanging fruit has been picked. In order to help our system reach under-served populations, Congress needs to act now on the bipartisan Honda-Dent legislation. Without action from Washington to support state-based efforts, millions of Americans will suffer from severe hepatitis-related complications and cost our health system tens of billions of dollars annually in avoidable medical costs."

The alarming research trends identified in the new study were conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan and published in the Dece
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