Hepatitis C (or HCV) is commonly associated with end-stage liver disease. Symptoms include extreme weakness, fatigue, joint or muscle pain, and yellowing skin. Chronic hepatitis C is known to lead to liver cancer, cirrhosis of the liver and ultimately liver failure. This can be a very serious and debilitating condition, especially when years pass without diagnosis or treatment.
The disease is most often transferred through needles. People receiving blood transfusions or other intravenous medical treatments (in conditions where equipment is not properly sterilized) are at a high risk for contracting hepatitis C. Veterans, especially those who served during a time when the HCV vaccine was not available, are known to be at risk.
Hepatitis C has been linked to improperly administered air inoculation guns. Some veterans who received inoculations were exposed to bloodborne pathogens when guns were not properly sterilized and cleaned.
A blood test will indicate if there are any levels of the HCV antibody. Once infected, a person may not immediately show symptoms of the disease. Instead, they can appear later on in the form of fatigue, nausea, flu-like symptoms, jaundice and even depression. If you are noticing these symptoms, please consult with a licensed physician as soon as possible.
A hepatitis C cure was placed on the market in 2012 after being sold to a pharmaceutical company for $11 billion, but veterans beware: The VA may not be able to afford your $84,000 12-week treatment. Dr. Raymond Schinazi, who led the scientific team behind discovering the cure, personally made $400,000, a fact not lost on many who argue that all veterans suffering from service-connected HCV should be able to acquire medication. Schinazi also happens to work for the VA. When asked if he understands how expensive his discovery is for a common Vietnam veteran, he simply answered, “I’m sorry that you’re taking it personally.”
Although the VA is struggling with the cost of this new drug, you still have the right to obtain it. At the Berry Law, our team of veterans disability attorneys represents veterans nationwide. We are highly experienced in assisting veterans with all types of VA disability claims.
For help regarding a hepatitis C-related VA claim, please call (888) 883-2483 to arrange a free consultation or contact us online.
Our monthly newsletter features about important and up-to-date veterans' law news, keeping you informed about the changes that matter.