“Eat a Peach,” The Allman Brothers Band hit album from 1972, was a piece of vinyl that I wore out. If you have a soft spot in your heart for that album and this southern rock band, then I’d bet that you are also a baby boomer. If my guess is right and you are a baby boomer, then that puts you in the highest risk group for being a carrier of the hepatitis C virus (HCV).
Gregg Allman, the co-founder of The Allman Brothers Band, just celebrated his one year anniversary of a successful liver transplant. He was diagnosed in 2007 with hepatitis C, which caused extensive liver damage and led to his need of a liver transplant. This experience gave Allman special motivation to hold a benefit concert, with the sponsorship of Merck and the American Liver foundation, to raise awareness of HCV, the chronic virus he contracted that destroyed his liver. This benefit concert will be held on July 27, 2011, the eve of World Hepatitis Day, at the famous Beacon Theatre in New York City to promote awareness of this growing public health issue.
Allman’s message is my message:
- If you are of baby boomer age, get tested for HCV. There are an estimated 1.6 million U.S. adults age 40-64 infected with HCV who have no idea that they have this disease.
- If you have the HCV, then get treated. There is a new therapy just approved by the FDA that offers the hope of a cure. Even if you aren’t cured, the treatment will ward off more serious liver disease and premature death.
- Doing nothing is not an option.
One of the famous songs on the “Eat a Peach” album was titled “One Way Out.” It’s fitting that Allman is now living that song. There is only one way out of this dreaded disease that 4 million Americans now carry and most don’t realize they have contracted.
Here’s to the “Ramblin’ Man” that he gets the message out for all baby boomers to get tested (and treated) for HCV.
Stephen C Vogt, PharmD
President and CEO