Contact: Ronni Marks, 917-612-2731, ronnimarks@hepatitisCmsg.org
Announcement makes New York the first state in the nation to make such a commitment
Well over 200,000 New Yorkers are living with hepatitis C - a curable, yet life threatening disease; over 50% do not know they are infected.
Albany, NY—On Friday, March 16th Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York State would be the first state in the nation to create and implement a plan to eliminate hepatitis C.
“As a patient who has been cured, I will work to ensure that all New Yorkers will have now the same opportunity, to be tested, treated and cured. I will continue to work in close partnership with the NYS Hepatitis C Elimination Campaign to make sure the State for fills this promise to eliminate Hepatitis C,” said Ronni Marks, Founder and Executive Director of the Hepatitis Mentor and Support Group. “Our hope is that this will inspire other states to follow.”
On February 7th, 2017, New York State held the first Hepatitis C Elimination Summit in the nation. The summit was a culmination of a year's worth of work by 94 New York-based health experts, providers, government representatives and advocates that represent roughly 50 different hospitals, universities, health departments, and community-based organizations. A Consensus Statement signed by 147 organizations - including the New York State Association of County Health Officials, and 10 County Health Departments around the state - was delivered to the Governor this year calling on "Governor Andrew Cuomo, the NYS Legislature, and industry partners to make a joint commitment to hepatitis C elimination, and for the appointment of a formal NYS Hepatitis C Elimination Task Force."
Advocates have been asking for $10.8M in the fiscal budget to fully fund a comprehensive response to the State's HCV epidemic that will include prevention, linkage to care and treatment, incarcerated people and surveillance.
Advocates have also called on NYS to negotiate volume based discounts on hepatitis C treatment with manufacturers that could significantly increase the number of New Yorkers being cured of hepatitis C. Volume based discounts for HIV treatment allowed the State to greatly expand access to HIV treatment and prevention medication and put New York at the forefront of the national effort to end HIV as an epidemic. A similar volume based discount deal for hepatitis C cures is reportedly in process, and could more than double the number of people cured of hepatitis C per year at the same cost to the State.
In 2015, an estimated 979 New Yorkers died from HCV related causes.1 A total of 1,634 New Yorkers died of liver cancer (according to the CDC, half of all liver cancers are attributable to HCV infection).
The State’s opioid epidemic has led to increases in HCV cases statewide, and more young people and females of childbearing age are becoming infected with HCV.
1 CDC, National Center for Health Statistics. Multiple Cause of Death files. Accessed at http://wonder.cdc.gov/mcd-icd10.html on Feb 15, 2017.