Over a thousand people living with Hepatitis-C die each day in the United States and is the most widespread blood borne infection in the country. The disease now kills more people than AIDS.
San Antonian, Margaret Dudley, was diagnosed with Hepatitis-C in 2011. She believes she contracted it from a cosmetic tattoo. Dudley is leading a charge to make a cure available to the four million Americans living with the disease. "We feel Gilead has a moral responsibility to work to put an end to this epidemic disease," says Dudley.
She established the HCV Coalition to raise awareness about Hepatitis-C and the cure that exists. She says the greatest frustration, is knowing treatment is available, but it's not being used. She says two pills from two different drug makers have show remarkable results, but their use against Hepatitis-C is stalled. Dudley says drug companies, Gilead and Bristol-Myers Squibb are putting profits before patients, by not moving forward with the medications they've created to cure the most common forms of Hepatitis-C.
Today, Dudley, with the support of her husband, Gary Dudley, co-owner of locally 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 it [the disease] by collaborating for a 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 treatments 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.
They have one month to gather the 100-thousand signatures in their online petition drive. To sign it, go to hepc-cured.com/