The answer may be an obvious “no” for some, but millions of Americans don’t know the answer or don’t realize that they are a carrier. Hepatitis C is a bloodborne disease that can lie dormant for years or even decades before showing any symptoms. Transmission occurs between blood-to-blood contact, with most new cases stemming from intravenous drug usage and a smaller percentage stemming from sexual activity. The recent heroin epidemics in midwestern and southern states have resulted in a spike of new Hepatitis C and HIV cases, as people are sharing needles without proper needle exchanges set in place.

The largest percentage of adults with Hepatitis C are baby boomers with more than 75% of the adult cases being people born from 1945 through 1965. While the reason why the baby boomers are the biggest population of Hepatitis C carriers is not completely understood, there are a couple ideas. Hepatitis C rates were the highest in the 70s and 80s, which is when many of the baby boomers were young adults. The baby boomers

Read more

More than half a million Americans had prescription costs over $50,000 in 2014—a 63% increase from the previous year. The increase is associated with doctors prescribing more expensive specialty drugs for diseases such as cancer or hepatitis C. The increase of American patients spending over $100,000 has nearly tripled from 47,000 in 2013 to an estimated 139,000 Americans in 2014.

There are many details in the report done by Express Scripts, the largest US pharmacy benefit manager. About 60% of patients spending over $100,000 were prescribed at least 10 medications, and 72% had scripts written by at least four different prescribers. The highest increases in costs are related to expensive new hepatitis C cures being introduced, with the number of patients receiving treatment for hep C increasing 733% in 2014. Of Americans spending over $100,000, 32% were taking cancer medications—several of which were approved in recent years. Some of the new drugs for hepatitis and cancer can cost upwards of $90,000 alone. Anti-depressants are among the most widely prescribed specialty medicines.

Health insurance covered an average of

Read more