Thu. May 23rd, 2024

BY DONNA WESTFALL   CREDIT TO George Lauer, California Healthline Features Editor

Hepatitis C or Hep C for short.

$1,000 per pill called “Solvadi” made by Gilead Sciences of Foster City . $84,000 for a full course of the pills. Taxpayers foot the bill.  About 93,000 Californians on Medi-Cal and in the state prison system have chronic Hep C. If the state covers treatment for all of them, that’s $6.6 billion.

Hep C  is a viral infection that can lead to liver failure, cancer or other health problems.  Our friend in Ojai, California passed away after living for 30 years with Hep C.  He died while waiting for a liver transplant. The end was not pretty.

Last month, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee launched an investigation into the high pricing of Sovaldi. Certainly it’s a breakthrough drug. Fortunately two committee members remarked that the price appears to be higher than expected given the costs of development and production and the steep discounts offered in other countries.

State Medicaid programs — Medi-Cal in California — are entitled by federal law to negotiate drug discounts, but state prison systems usually pay full retail prices.  Perhaps it’s time for the prison system to start using a red pencil and slash those prices.  Let them start negotiating for steep discounts, otherwise, the taxpayers already overburdened and groaning from too much taxation are apt to see a huge increase due to this one drug.






One thought on “Drug Makes Its Way Into California Prisons And Those On Medi-Cal”
  1. Just think of this way, our government is unable to keep people in prisons long-term (due to terrible spending habits and lack of support for felons coming out of prison) and there is a huge push to keep felons off welfare. So … this problem will correct itself soon.

    Then only the 1% will be able to get the treatment soon. (It will almost certainly not be covered by most insurances.)

    This really is the pharmaceutical companies shooting themselves in the foot. Once they realize they can lower the price bring in more sales, they will. (Again, problem corrects itself.)

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