Georgia Awards US Company Heads for Contribution to Hepatitis C Elimination Program

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has awarded the United States (US) Company Gilead Executive President John Martin with the Golden Fleece Order, and Executive Vice President Greg Alton with the Order of Honor for the contribution to the Hepatitis C Elimination Program in Georgia.

The award ceremony was held after a face-to-face meeting at the governmental administration.

At the meeting, which was attended by the Minister of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, David Sergeenko, Kvirikashvili emphasized the special role of the medicines manufacturer company Gilead in the successful implementation of the unprecedented program of Hepatitis C.

“At the meeting, we assessed the program as successful, having saved the lives of 40 thousand people,” the Minister of Health stated.

The President of Gilead also underlined that the progress achieved through the implementation of the program is impressive.

“It was an honor for me to discuss the implementation of the Hepatitis C program with the Prime Minister. We are impressed with the achieved results,” he said.

According to Alton, the Georgian model of hepatitis elimination program is exemplary for the world.

“This program is good for the people of Georgia but also it serves as a demonstration of what a country can do for its citizens: the model that has been applied in Georgia can eliminate Hepatitis C globally,” he stated.

The health project ‘Georgia without Hepatitis C’ was launched in the country on April 21, 2015, when the government of Georgia and American biotechnology company Gilead signed a memorandum of understanding.

The project helps to reduce and prevent Hepatitis C cases in Georgia. The main goal of the project is to stop the disease from being highly contagious. The treatment is free of charge for citizens of Georgia.

All applicants must undergo necessary laboratory examination and if the appropriate results are shown, the special commission decides if the applicant fits the project or not.

During the first stage, Sofosbuvir was used as the primary medicine. However, for the second stage Havron was introduced, a newer medicine which is believed to cure 95% of Hepatitis C patients.

The average index of Hepatitis C in Georgia is 7.7, which puts it in the top five countries in the world with a high rate of the disease.

At present, more than 40,000 beneficiaries are included in the Hepatitis C program, with more than 31,000 treatment courses already completed.

Thea Morrison

10 August 2017 18:30