There is a cure or the nation’s deadliest infectious disease, hepatitis C, but at tens of thousands of dollars per patient in upfront costs, most insurance companies can’t afford to provide the treatment to all of the estimated 2.7 million to 3.9 million of Americans who are infected. This is especially true for patients on Medicaid or in the prison system, where funding has historically been restricted.
Leading experts on hepatitis C treatment policy are recommending a new novel pricing strategy, implemented at the state level, that could help many more patients access the treatment. The recommendations were published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine and as an extended USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy report.
“These innovative therapies can cure hepatitis C, but the high costs put them out of reach for the most vulnerable populations,” said Neeraj Sood, lead author on the report and an economist at the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics. “We wanted to come up with a better solution where we dramatically improve access to cures, control drug spending but still maintain incentives for the development of new cures.”