Hepatitis C Coalition (HCV Coalition for The Cure) Launches White House Petition to End Hepatitis C

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 350,000 people a year are dying from Hepatitis C. Gilead Sciences and Bristol-Myers Squibb together developed a promising cure and HCV advocates are outraged at lack of its development

"We had never, ever imagined – even in our wildest dreams – we could treat HCV so quickly, effectively and without serious side effects," said Paul Thuluvath, physician at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Md., who had six patients on the new treatment.

According to the World Health Organization, (WHO) 350,000 people die each year from Hepatitis C and it is the most widespread blood borne infection in the country. (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs164/en/). The disease now kills more people than AIDS (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/23/us-hepc-idUSTRE81M1HR20120223).

San Antonian, Margaret Dudley, was diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 2011. Dudley is leading a charge to make a cure available to the four million Americans living with the disease. "We feel Gilead Sciences has a moral responsibility to work with Bristol-Myers to put an end to this epidemic disease," says Dudley.

She established the HCV Coalition for The Cure to raise awareness about Hepatitis C and the cure that exists. She says the greatest frustration is knowing that a treatment is available without toxic ribavirin and/or interferon, but it's not being used. She says two pills from two different drug makers have shown remarkable results, but their use against Hepatitis C is stalled. Dudley says drug company Gilead Sciences has balked at further development with Bristol-Myers Squibb rather than moving forward with the medications they created together to cure the most common forms of Hepatitis C, which is a combination of Gilead Sciences’ sofosbuvir combined with Bristol’s daclatasvir (Bristol urges combo hepatitis C study with Gilead http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/31/us-bristolmyers-gilead-idUSBRE84U0WC20120531)

On February 19, 2013, Dudley, with the support of her husband, Gary Dudley, co-owner of San Antonio based corporation, SWBC, and a number of other advocates announced a drive to obtain a hundred thousand signatures, that would get the White House to help move things along.

"They can stop this disease by collaborating on this cure for a disease that's reached epidemic proportions," says 61 year old Dudley - a mother and grandmother.

The Hepatitis C virus resides in the liver. Over time, cysts and scar tissue form, causing liver cirrhosis. Tumors can develop and the liver can fail. This is the number one reason for liver transplants. "We feel very strongly with help of the nation and the White House, we can get these drug companies to come together with their previously proven treatment to cure the disease."

"You have the cure, you developed it, give us access to it," says Margaret directing her plea to the drug companies.

Dudley is urging everyone to go to http://www.hepc-cured.org and sign the White House petition.

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Kimberly Salazar

Margaret Dudley
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