The NHS is planning for England to be the first country in the world to eliminate Hepatitis C.
Health leaders have called on the pharmaceutical industry to work with them to provide best value for money for treatments so that the NHS can commit to eliminating Hepatitis C in England at least five years earlier than the World Health Organisation goal of 2030.
A round of procurement launching in February is the single largest medicine procurement done by the NHS, and NHS England expects to see more new treatments curing more patients by October.
Part of the new agreements between NHS England and drug companies will involve collaboration to identify more people who are living with Hepatitis C who need to be treated.
Experts have predicted that this approach, combined with the NHS sustaining the same level of investment and the best new treatments being used, could lead to Hepatitis C being eradicated as a major public health concern.
It is currently one of the leading causes of death globally, accounting for more than 1.3 million deaths per year – as many as HIV, TB and malaria.
Figures show that Hepatitis C is affecting 160,000 people in England.
Professor Graham Foster, national clinical chairman for Hepatitis C, NHS England, said: “The progress made in the treatment of Hepatitis C has transformed the lives of many of my patients and has been made possible by NHS England working closely with industry to bring prices down and expand treatment options.
“Yet we have the opportunity to do so much more. Over the last seven decades, the NHS has been at the forefront of medical innovation – to be able to commit to a world first in the year of the NHS’ 70th anniversary would be another remarkable and truly historic achievement.”