State Medicaid Programs Ease Illegal Restrictions on Hepatitis C Medications, but More Progress Needed

State Medicaid Programs Ease Illegal Restrictions on Hepatitis C Medications, but More Progress Needed

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Across the United States, the high cost of hepatitis C (HCV) drugs means that patients often struggle to access life-saving treatment. State-level Medicaid programs are legally obligated to provide these drugs, but many programs find ways to deny treatment. The three more common tactics employed are liver damage (fibrosis) restrictions, prescriber restrictions and sobriety restrictions.

Across the United States, the high cost of hepatitis C (HCV) drugs means that patients often struggle to access life-saving treatment. State-level Medicaid programs are legally obligated to provide these drugs, but many programs find ways to deny treatment. The three more common tactics employed are liver damage (fibrosis) restrictions, prescriber restrictions and sobriety restrictions.

While restrictions vary state by state, restrictions eased somewhat across the country from 2014 to 2016, according to preliminary data presented at the Liver Meeting 2016, by Robert Greenwald, director, Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School, and Ryan Clary, executive director of the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable. Greenwald presented the 2016 data as an update to his 2014 survey of state Medicaid policies.

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