Thousands of Kiwis eligible for taxpayer-funded Hepatitis C drug aren't accessing it

Thousands of New Zealanders who are eligible for a taxpayer funded Hepatitis C drug are not accessing it as they don't know it exists.

There are more than 50,000 people in New Zealand have Hepatitis C and a staggering half of them, 25,000, are thought to be undiagnosed.

The drug Viekira Pak is used to treat Hepatitis C and claims to have a 95 per cent cure rate.

The drug became fully funded by taxpayers in 2016 and since then 2,500 have been treated.

Around 9,000 people who are eligible for the drug have not come forward.

Hepatitis C is carried by the blood and can be picked up by those who have injected drugs, received a tattoo or piercing which isn't sterile, been in prison, or had a blood transfusion before 1992.

Pharmac Deputy Medical Director, Dr Bryan Betty says: "If you do have Hepatitis there is now an effective cure for the disease. So yes there is a lot of activity going on in this sector to actually raise awareness about the need for testing for high risk patients."

There are more than 50,000 people in NZ diagnosed with the illness. Source: 1 NEWS



Kayakers rescued from Wellington Harbour after heavy winds separates them from cruise ship

A group of eight tourists have been rescued from a kayaking trip gone wrong in Wellington Harbour after a strong headwind separated them from the cruise ship they were traveling on.

The tourists were traveling on the cruise ship Norrdam and headed out on a guided return kayaking trip this afternoon.

However, a Department of Conservation ranger at the nearby Matiu/Somes Island, in Wellington Harbour, called police when he became concerned by the conditions he saw them paddling into.

A police launch crew was then kept up to date by the ranger on the state of the kayakers while the rescue was undertaken.

An elderly male and female from the group were rescued from the water by officers on the Police launch Lady Elizabeth IV.

One of those pulled from the water was suffering from mild hypothermia and was treated by police staff before being transferred into the care of medical staff on board the cruise ship.

An outbound Bluebridge ferry was also diverted off its course to avoid members of the group as they were being rescued.

The other six members of the kayaking group, who were unfamiliar with the area, were scattered across the main shipping channel, coming ashore at Kau Bay and Mahanga Bay on the Miramar Peninsula.

Some capsized as they approached the shore but none of the group required medical treatment.

Wellington City waterfront. Source: 1 NEWS

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Two people dead after crash involving car and truck in Christchurch

Two people are dead after a crash between a car and a truck in Christchurch today.

The crash happened on the intersection of Shands Road and Blakes Road in Prebbleton.

Police say the two people who died were travelling in the car.

The intersection is closed and motorists are urged to avoid the area.

The Serious Crash Unit is investigating.

Police car generic.
Police car generic. Source: 1 NEWS