CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden on Hepatitis C

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Hansa Bhargava, MD
Hi, I’m Dr. Hansa Bhargava from WebMD and I’m joined today by Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC. Thank you for being here, Dr. Frieden. the CDC recommends that people born between 1945 and 1965, be tested for hepatitis C. But the new and more effective drugs are also more expensive. From a public health perspective, what would you recommend?

Tom Frieden, MD
First off, knowledge is power. If you were born from '45 to '65 and you haven’t been tested for hepatitis C, get tested. You’ll know where you stand. You can do things even without, even if it’s not medication that will help you live longer and healthier. If you have hepatitis C, you really need to cut down on or completely avoid alcohol and other and medications that may damage your liver. The cost of the medicine for hepatitis C has surprised many people. And we need to have a societal discussion on what are appropriate costs, because quite frankly, at some point, a healthy and reasonable profit motive becomes profiteering. At what point that happens, that’s for society to understand. But, clearly with medications that can save people’s lives, we need to make sure that people are tested and provided the opportunities for treatment.