State OKs new Hep C drug for Medicaid patients

Two drugs now available, but cost difference unclear

During the latter portion of 2014, Oregon officials and Hepatitis C patient advocates debated who would be able to receive a new, highly effective yet prohibitively expensive drug under the state’s Medicaid program.

Officials approved criteria that restricted the drug, Sovaldi, to very sick patients, with the caveat that they’d take up the issue again once new, perhaps more affordable drugs hit the market.

That appears to have happened sooner than expected. The director of the Oregon Health Authority, which oversees the state’s Medicaid program, the Oregon Health Plan, approved new criteria this month that permits some OHP beneficiaries with Hepatitis C to access a new drug: Harvoni. Hepatitis C is a disease that causes inflammation of the liver and can lead to liver failure or liver cancer.  


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