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Clin Infect Dis. 2015 Dec 15;61(12):1825-30. doi: 10.1093/cid/civ677. Epub 2015 Aug 12.

Access to Costly New Hepatitis C Drugs: Medicine, Money, and Advocacy.

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Department of Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine.
School of Public Health, Drexel University.
Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Hepatitis C affects >3 million people in the United States, and often leads to end-stage liver disease or death. In 2014, several new drugs to treat hepatitic C virus received US Food and Drug Administration approval, with remarkable cure rates exceeding 90%. Medicaid, however, is rationing these drugs, and other insurers have restricted coverage due to their exorbitant costs and the large size of the population in need. These access barriers and disparities have resulted in national patient advocacy mobilization, US congressional inquiry, and legal challenges. The US Department of Health and Human Services has been urged to intervene. We propose the establishment of a federal program, analogous to AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, to reduce access barriers and facilitate focused price negotiations. The federal government may further undertake a nonvoluntary acquisition of the pharmaceutical patents pursuant to federal statutory authority and principles of eminent domain. Projections indicate this proposal could lower costs by 90% and eliminate rationing.


HCV treatment; Medicaid restrictions; healthcare advocacy; pharmaceutical pricing; sofosbuvir

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