With the approval this month of two drugs to treat hepatitis C in children, these often overlooked victims of the opioid epidemic have a better chance at a cure. Kids may have an easier time than adults getting treatment approved, some experts say.
Medicaid programs and private insurers have often balked at paying for the pricey drugs for adults, but stricter Medicaid guidelines for kids may make coverage more routine.
The two drugs approved for pediatric use by the Food and Drug Administration, Harvoni and Sovaldi, both have been highly effective in treating adults with the disease. In two clinical trials of children ages 12 to 17, the drugs eliminated all traces of the virus in 97 to 100 percent of patients, generally in 12 weeks. Trials that test the effectiveness of the drugs in younger children are ongoing.