Hepatitis C drug costs challenges DOC budget

Covering the cost of a new treatment for hepatitis C treatment for a growing number of patients is a challenge for the Department of Corrections.

Oregon faces budget-busting costs for expensive new treatments for hepatitis C, and the issue is not limited to the state’s Medicaid program.

The prison system also faces higher costs from a new drug that cures many people of the potentially deadly disease, but costs the Department of Corrections roughly $70,000 per inmate for the 12-week treatment. The Legislature already approved an additional $3.2 million in a supplemental budget bill earlier this year to cover the drug Harvoni for inmates, after the number of inmates treated rose sharply in December. The increase was also part of the reason the Legislature boosted the Department of Corrections’ latest two-year budget for medical supplies by nearly 32 percent.

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