A GROUP of patients with Hepatitis C are staging a protest at a Madrid hospital and have refused to leave until the government provides them with the medication they require.
Thirty people occupied Hospital 12 de Octubre in the Spanish capital, demanding the government earmark a budget assignment so that they can afford treatment for their illness.
“We will not leave until they give us our medication,” said spokesman for the Platform of Hepatitis C Patients, Mario Cortes.
“We cannot say there is universal health care in Spain while there is a large number of people that are not getting medication available on the market that can save lives,” said Ruben Bejarano, Spanish left-wing political coalition Izquierda Unida spokesman, before the Madrid Assembly.
According to the platform, 4,000 people lost their battle with Hepatitis C last year, which represents approximately 12 deaths every day.
“These deaths are homicides, because the medicine exists and they will not give it to us. That is unacceptable and this is precisely the reason why we are indefinitely occupying the hospital until a solution is found,” warned Cortez.
He stated that, in Spain, there were 30,000 patients with cirrhosis with a life expectancy of three to four months. “They need their medication right now, tomorrow. And there are 175,000 others who have been diagnosed and 40 per cent of them are in the third or fourth stage of the disease,” he complained.
Izquierda Unida issued a statement expressing its solidarity with the demonstrators.
The party urged the government to give patients the treatment they needed and called for a regional plan which would determine how many patients there were and for enough money to guarantee Madrid residents their right to health.