The Sacramento Bee: Hepatitis C Drug’s High Cost Hits California Budget

The Sacramento Bee

January 16, 2015

Hepatitis C drug’s high cost hits California budget

“Last year, after the Food and Drug Administration approved a breakthrough new drug for hepatitis C, health officials around the country warned of dire consequences for state budgets.

The drug is expensive – about $1,000 a pill, or $84,000 for a regular course of treatment – and many people it could help receive publicly funded care…

…Like many other states, California has moved to limit use of the drug by Medi-Cal recipients, requiring drug and alcohol screening and limiting treatment to patients suffering from advanced forms of the disease…

Robert Greenwald, director of the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School, said, ‘If there was a cure for Alzheimer’s or there was a cure for MS in the same way that there is now a cure for hepatitis, people would be lining up and demanding access and would not be tolerating the kind of restrictions.'”

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