High Cost of Hepatitis C Medications Limiting Treatment Access

August 19, 2015

National Journal (Owens, 8/19, subscription publication) reported that the White House has announced an initiative “to curb heroin use by addressing it as both a public-safety and public-health issue.” However, “largely excluded from the discussion is what to do about those living with the consequences of their addiction and the public health concern that presents. For many, access to treatment for disease contracted through drug use is unaffordable. Although there is medication on the market to treat hepatitis C—a disease common among drug users—its cost often makes it unavailable to the sick.” Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, said, “There isn’t a Medicaid program in the country that can afford to cover the cost of treatment for every patient.” As an example, the article lists Sovaldi (sofosbuvir), which is one of the few medications available—and costs $1,000 a pill.