Survey: Hepatitis C Patients Delay Treatment Due to Cost Concerns

— Most Uncured Respondents Not Actively Treating the Disease —

October 4, 2017

Hepatitis C In America, a new Health Union syndicated research study of 609 individuals diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C infection, shows that more than one-third of uncured respondents were not currently under the care of a healthcare provider (HCP), typically due to financial concerns.

While new Hepatitis C treatment options are revolutionizing care, many patients report financial challenges (53 percent) and insurance denial/lack of insurance coverage (25 percent), along with apprehension about treatment and side effects, as common barriers to accessing treatments. The survey also found most (86 percent) respondents with current chronic Hepatitis C infection were not actively treating their condition at the time of the survey.

Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne infection in the United States and can lead to serious complications including cirrhosis and liver cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplants in the U.S.

In this year’s survey, 49 percent of respondents reported they were cured of Hepatitis C and 51 percent were not yet cured at the time of the survey. Seventy-three percent of all respondents had received treatment for Hepatitis C from their healthcare professional; however, 21 percent of treated patients did not achieve a sustained viral response – considered “cured.”

Of those who had been treated, 38 percent reported waiting more than five years from diagnosis to begin treatment. Additionally, one out of four treated patients reported they had to stop a treatment early, often due to medication side effects.

The survey also found a desire to know more about the condition, with most respondents wishing they had more information at the time of diagnosis, particularly about Hepatitis C’s impact on their bodies and long-term complications of the virus. Prior to their diagnosis, one-third of respondents were not aware of Hepatitis C.

“Typing in those words, ‘Hep C,’ causes a lot of trauma,” said Karen Hoyt, a patient advocate. “But we also want to find out what’s going on in our own bodies. An online support network like helps us know we’re not alone and provides a sense of connection for us.”

The survey also showed many people living with Hepatitis C make lifestyle changes following their diagnosis. Some of these changes include staying hydrated, avoiding alcohol, maintaining a healthy diet, getting more sleep, and managing stress.

“There’s nothing like the fear of a serious health condition to motivate you,” Hoyt added, “and making lifestyle changes can fight feelings of powerlessness and lack of control.”

“The findings from Hepatitis C In America reflect opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry and patients alike,” said Health Union Senior Vice President, Insights, Anna McClafferty. “Among respondents who aren’t cured, more than half have never been treated. For these patients, financial concerns, lack of health insurance, and worries about the treatments themselves are primary barriers to starting therapy. Given these findings, it’s not surprising to see so many people with Hepatitis C interested in clinical trials and aware of new treatments in development.”

Hepatitis C In America 2017 was conducted online May 3, 2017 – June 26, 2017 and released through Health Union’s online community, A summary infographic of the survey results is also available. More details about the survey may be available upon request; email

Patient-reported data from the newest Hepatitis C In America survey can be viewed here.