Prisoners with hepatitis C don’t always get treatment.
A cure for a disease is only useful if it’s accessible to those who need it.
For people with chronic hepatitis C, that cure can cost up to $90,000 and may not be fully covered by their insurance.
For prisoners in the U.S. correctional system, that cure is even further out of reach.
State prisons are failing to treat at least 144,000 incarcerated patients with hepatitis C, according to a recent story published by Kaiser Health News.
Nationwide, about 97 percent of incarcerated patients with hepatitis C aren’t getting the treatment they need.
Officials quoted in the story say price is a major barrier, although advocates cite a 1976 Supreme Court ruling determined an inmate’s medical care is covered by the U.S. Constitution.
Siraphob Thanthong-Knight, a recent masters graduate from the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism who wrote the Kaiser story, told Healthline that some inmates have to exhaust all other options before they’ll receive the antiviral medications that can cure their infections.
“I found the problem isn’t just paying for the drugs,” he said. “For some prisoners, when they request the drugs in the late stages, they get the treatment.”
|Read on: Hepatitis C and Prisoners Untreated|