Daily Yomiuri (Tokyo) (09.06.07) - Tuesday, September 11, 2007
The Japanese government and ruling coalition recently
announced they are considering allocating funds for the next
fiscal year to subsidize hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment.
The estimated number of HCV-infected Japanese is 1.5 million.
In addition, the government is weighing the inclusion of funds
to help treat hepatitis B and liver cancer, which may develop
from hepatitis. The ruling parties' team is drafting a
proposal that will include the treatment budget, the scope of
assistance, and protocols for offering it. The government's
assistance with HCV treatment may only be temporary, as there
are no indications new HCV infections are increasing, said
Jiro Kawasaki, chairperson of the team and former minister of
health, labor, and welfare. The annual cost of HCV therapy is
about 3 million yen (US $26,400) per patient, and the patient
is personally responsible for about 800,000 yen (US $7,027).
Many patients give up treatment due to the financial burden.