Courts Force States to Provide Costly Hepatitis C Treatment to People in Prison
Date:  10-02-2018

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 3 people in U.S. jails and prisons has hepatitis C.
From The Pew Charitable Trusts:

A series of recent court rulings and settlements, including one last week in Indiana, have found that states cannot withhold potentially life-saving but expensive medications from Medicaid beneficiaries and prison inmates who have chronic hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C kills far more Americans than any other infectious disease. But when new antiviral drugs that for the first time promised a cure for hepatitis C hit the market in 2014, states blanched at their eye-popping prices and took steps to sharply limit the availability of those treatments for Medicaid beneficiaries and inmates. According to one recent survey, only 3 percent of inmates in state penitentiaries with hepatitis C receive the cure.

The antiviral drugs have since become cheaper, but judicial decisions and settlements have consistently found that states cannot deny treatment because of cost in any case.

In the latest ruling, U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson, chief judge of the U.S. Southern District of Indiana, said that withholding or delaying treatment from hepatitis C-infected inmates was unconstitutional, amounting to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The U.S. Constitution requires state penitentiaries to provide health care to prisoners. Continue reading >>>