Walter Bianco's liver is severely damaged by hepatitis C, but insurers had refused to pay for the medications that could cure him. Alexandra Olgin for NPR hide caption

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Walter Bianco's liver is severely damaged by hepatitis C, but insurers had refused to pay for the medications that could cure him. Alexandra Olgin for NPR hide caption

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Medicare Backs Down On Denying Treatment For Hepatitis Patient
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Advocates demonstrate in favor of cheaper generic drugs to treat hepatitis C in New Delhi on March 21. The disease is common among people who are HIV positive. Saurabh Das/AP hide caption

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A girl with hepatitis C holds a medical report while being treated at a hospital in Hefei, China, in 2011. China has one of the greatest burdens of hepatitis C, but it's still not clear whether a deal for lower prices for a new drug from Gilead Sciences will apply there. Barcroft Media/Landov hide caption

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Timothy Webb and other advocates protest the cost of HIV drugs manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Gilead outside an AIDS conference in Atlanta in March. Gilead is making a new hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi. John Amis/AP Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation hide caption

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$1,000 Pill For Hepatitis C Spurs Debate Over Drug Prices
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A colorized closeup of the hepatitis C virus. James Cavallini/Science Source hide caption

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FDA Expected To Approve New, Gentler Cure For Hepatitis C
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Particles of the hepatitis C virus are imaged with an electron microscope. James Cavallini/Science Source hide caption

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Hepatitis C patient Nancy Turner shows Kathleen Coleman, a nurse practitioner, where a forearm rash, a side effect of her treatment, has healed. Turner is one of many patients with hepatitis C experimenting with new drugs to beat back the virus. Richard Knox/NPR hide caption

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As Hepatitis C Sneaks Up On Baby Boomers, Treatment Options Grow
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Hospitals began testing blood for hepatitis in 1992, so anyone who received a blood transfusion before then is at an increased risk for contracting the disease. iStockphoto hide caption

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Gregg Allman and Natalie Cole perform at the Tune In to Hep C benefit concert at the Beacon Theatre in New York on July 27, 2011. Both singers have battled chronic hepatitis C. Rob Bennett/AP Images for TuneInToHepC.com hide caption

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CDC Recommends Hepatitis C Testing For All Boomers
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This photo provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Hampshire shows David Kwiatkowski, a former lab technician at an Exeter, N.H., hospital. AP Photo/U.S. Attorney's Office hide caption

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Medical Technician Might Have Exposed Hundreds To Hepatitis C
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