Several lawsuits around the country aim to increase access to hepatitis C medications.
Legal battles are being waged by the Attorney General in New York and others against insurers that balked at covering expensive hepatitis C drugs, while federal Medicaid officials have warned states over not providing the drugs. Now the American Civil Liberties Union is upping the pressures with several lawsuits around the country.
Having already filed a class action suit against the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration and a lawsuit against the Tennessee Department of Corrections, the ACLU in Colorado is now threatening to sue the state’s Medicaid program for only covering the new gen hep C drugs for people whose liver disease has reached an advanced stage.
In a recent letter to Colorado officials, ACLU pointed to guidelines issued last year by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, which reminded them “of their obligation to provide access to these promising therapies based on the medical evidence.” At the time that it warned states, the federal agency also insisted the drugmakers, including Gilead Sciences ($GILD)–which dominates the market for the drugs–and competitor AbbVie ($ABBV), provide state programs with the lowest discounted price they offer to anyone else.
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