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Louisiana moves forward with subscription model to buy anti-hepatitis C drugs

The Louisiana Department of Health sent an official request on Thursday (January 10) to find a manufacturer of hepatitis C drugs to partner with in order to reduce the cost and increase access to medications for Medicaid patients.

The plan was originally announced last July and would imply that LDH agreed to pay the drug manufacturer five years in advance for unlimited access to the drug initially.

Health officials said at least 39,000 people in the Louisiana Medicaid program and in the prison system are infected with hepatitis C. The opioid epidemic has only exacerbated those numbers, according to a press release.

The hepatitis C virus is transmitted by direct contact with the blood of an infected person. This infection can lead to a chronic liver disease. There is no vaccine for this virus, but a new treatment for this infection can cure 85 to 100 percent of patients, according to LDH.

However, due to the high cost of medication, less than three percent of patients with hepatitis C from Louisiana Louisiana were treated last year, according to the LDH.

Secretary of the Department of Health, Dr. Rebekah Gee, said in an interview last July that if the state offered the drug to each Medicaid beneficiary, it would cost about $ 700 million.

"Our department is looking for a subscription model for the treatment of hepatitis C that gives us the opportunity to solve a major challenge to public health and make a cure available to our most vulnerable populations while maintaining stable care costs. medical, "said LDH Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee in a press release.

The LDH has established a goal to treat more than 10,000 people who are in the penitentiary system or enrolled in Medicaid by 2020 through this subscription model. They plan to have the association established to start on July 1, giving them unlimited access to antiviral drugs for five years.

Maria Clark writes about immigration, health, doctors, patients and medical care in Louisiana for NOLA.com | The times-picayune. Take it to mclark@nola.com. Or follow her on Twitter at @ MariaPClark1.

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