Kim Crisell, owner of Angling Essentials in Church Street, Witham, was diagnosed with hepatitis C three years ago.
Because pharmaceutical company Gilead sell the treatment, Harvoni, to the NHS for £35,000, compared to just £500 in some countries, Mr Crisell was forced to use an online buyers’ club.
Mr Crisell did not know the lethal virus had been lying dormant in his system for 30 to 40 years. While on a ferry on his way to a rock concert in Amsterdam Mr Crisell, 60, believes he ate some uncooked sausage where he contracted hepatitis E, a version of the virus that normally does not require treatment.
However, because Mr Crisell already had hepatitis C in his system there were significant complications.
He said: “I started feeling groggy after I had eaten the food and I was feeling worse as time went on.
“I went to my GP when I got back and they took some blood tests. As the week went on I kept feeling groggy, I had a customer come into the shop and say I was orange.
“I rang my consultant who had treated me when I had a pancreatic tumour removed and asked what I should do.
“I was told to go straight up to Broomfield A&E and they admitted me and kept me in for a couple of weeks.
“I have never done hard drugs or used needles, the only thing they could put it down to was a tattoo I got in 1976 during my time in the Air Force.”