December 23, 2016
It is a great achievement for Ireland that hepatitis C has virtually been eradicated in people who have haemophilia, according to Health Minister Simon Harris.
“I am so delighted for all the patients, who can now look forward to a bright, healthy future,” says Mr Harris.
All of the haemophiliacs who needed treatment for hepatitis C have now been offered it, with excellent success rates.
From the 1970s to 1991, 240 haemophiliacs were infected with hepatitis C by contaminated blood products, with 105 also infected with HIV. To date, 112 have died of either HIV or hepatitis C.
The Irish Haemophilia Society’s chief executive, Brian O’Mahony, said it was the largest medical disaster in the history of the State and it devastated the haemophilia community.
In July, 2015, the IHS received an assurance from the Department of Health that all State-infected patients, including patients with haemophilia, would be treated no later than the end of 2017.
Mr O’Mahony said, yesterday, that the target had been exceeded, with all haemophiliacs offered treatment. The success rates are more than 90%. A small number of people decided not to take treatment, because they were very elderly or there were other reasons.
The chairwoman of the national hepatitis C treatment programme, Prof Suzanne Norris, said the HSE’s aim was to make hepatitis C a rarity in Ireland by 2030 by providing treatment to all infected persons.