As Minnesota insurers limit access to hepatitis C drugs, patients chafe

Kelly Krodel thought a miracle had arrived just in time — in a drug that could eliminate the hepatitis C infection she had carried for three decades before it started to wreck her liver.

Turns out, she’s going to have to live with the virus a bit longer. As long as the South St. Paul woman is reasonably healthy, her health insurance won’t pay the drug’s five- or even six-figure cost.

“Now there’s a cure and I can’t even touch it,” she said. “It makes you so angry.”

Krodel is one of a growing number of hepatitis C patients in Minnesota caught in a bind between the exorbitant cost of the year-old medications — Harvoni, Sovaldi and Viekira Pak — and the tight restrictions insurers have used to prevent the drugs from busting their budgets.


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