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Hepatitis C Drugs Top State Medicaid Pharmaceutical Expenditures

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JAMA

Sovaldi, Gilead Sciences’ drug for treatment of hepatitis C, ranked among the top 5 pharmaceutical expenditures for 33 states’ Medicaid programs in 2014, according to data released recently by 2 members of the Senate Finance Committee (http://1.usa.gov/1Z0I2hM).

In 14 states, Medicaid programs spent more on Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) than on any other drug, according to the new data, released by ranking member Ron Wyden (D, Ore) and Chuck Grassley (R, Iowa) (http://1.usa.gov/1O8Grl0). Because a course of treatment costs $84 000, Medicaid programs were able to treat only 2.4% of approximately 700 000 enrollees infected with hepatitis C.

Wyden and Grassley also released letters from 10 states illustrating how Sovaldi’s high price affected their budgets (http://1.usa.gov/1myPVcM).

For example, if Washington State’s Medicaid program “were to pay for hepatitis C treatment for all Medicaid clients infected with hepatitis C, the cost would be 3 times the current total pharmacy budget,” wrote MaryAnne Lindeblad, BSN, MPH, Medicaid director for Washington State.

read more at JAMA

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