Access to Sovaldi Varies Widely State by State

State Medicaid programs spent $1.33 billion on hepatitis C therapies through the third quarter of last year, or nearly as much as the states spent in the previous 3 years combined, a Wall Street Journal analysis of federal data shows.

Gilead Sciences

Inc.

A pricey pill made by caused Medicaid spending on hepatitis C treatments to soar last year, even as most states restricted access to the drug, leaving many low-income patients untreated.

State Medicaid programs spent $1.33 billion on hepatitis C therapies through the third quarter of last year, or nearly as much as the states spent in the previous 3 years combined, a Wall Street Journal analysis of federal data shows.

The growth was primarily driven by Gilead’s Sovaldi, a highly effective therapy that has a wholesale cost of $84,000 per person over the course of treatment, or $1000 per pill. The price has sparked an outcry from insurers, members of Congress and others worried about the cost of treating an estimated three million Americans with hepatitis C, which can lead to cirrhosis or cancer of the liver.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal: http://on.wsj.com/1E7mNiM