U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Sovaldi, December 6, 2013. REUTERS

Members of the Plataforma de Afectados de Hepatitis C and thousands more held a series of protests in various Spanish towns to demand for equal and easier access to the newly developed medication for Hepatitis C. The demonstrations started on Dec 18, 2014 and has gathered more supporters from different cities since then.

According to the advocacy group, an estimate of 800,000 people in Spain are suffering from Hepatitis C, and more than 4 percent have already developed cirrhosis. The government has authorised access to the new expensive drug to treat chronic Hepatitis C. However, protesters claim that health authorities are not being fair by implementing selective provision of the expensive treatment. Instead of giving equal access for all Hepatitis C sufferers, the costly drug is being supplied to patients who are likely to survive and not to those who are terminally ill. Moreover, the group intends to sue Spain's former health minister, Ana Mato, for prolonged negotiations with the pharmaceutical company Gilead on the price of the medicine before making it available to the public. They said that delays in the treatment have caused premature deaths of 12 ill patients every day. Since January 2014, there have been more than 4,000 deaths among HCV patients.

The new anti-HCV drug, sofosbuvir has a cure rate of up to 95 percent, but its pricing stirred international controversy in 2014 when Gilead Sciences stated that it would costs $1,000 per pill or amount to $84,000 for a 12-week treatment. In Spain, it costs €25,000. The state government has allocated funds for 4,900 treatments. In a letter addressed to the prime minister, the campaigners call for improved health services and increased state budget allocation for treatment of Hepatitis C disease. On Saturday, Jan 10, a state-wide protest was held. The main demonstration was the 10-kilometre march from Madrid's Hospital 12 de Octobre to the Palace of Moncloa. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has stated that diagnosed HCV cases will be provided medication.

Organisers have stated that campaigns will intensify if the government fails to address this immediate health concern. European caravans are being planned in the future.