2 May 2017 - Continuing public concerns over high-priced hepatitis C drugs are taking a new twist as Louisiana’s top health official proposes using an obscure federal patent law to get the medicines at a much lower cost. If successful, other states could reap the benefits.
Covering treatment for the 35,000 uninsured and Medicaid-dependent residents with hepatitis C would cost the state $764 million given current drug costs, a staggering sum that would have to be pulled from schools, public services and infrastructure programs. Louisiana’s budget runs to $31.2 billion a year, but its discretionary programs, such as health care, account for $3.6 billion.
“We don’t have the resources,” said Rebekah Gee, the state’s health secretary.