There's a Life-Saving Hepatitis C Drug. But You May Not Be Able To Afford It.

There's a new drug regimen being touted as a potential cure for a dangerous liver virus that causes hepatitis C. But it costs $84,000 -- or $1,000 a pill. And that price tag is prompting outrage from some consumers and a scramble by insurers to figure out which patients should get the drug -and who pays for it.

There's a new drug regimen being touted as a potential cure for a dangerous liver virus that causes hepatitis C. But it costs $84,000 -- or $1,000 a pill. And that price tag is prompting outrage from some consumers and a scramble by insurers to figure out which patients should get the drug —and who pays for it.

Called Sovaldi, the drug is made by California-based Gilead Sciences Inc. and is the latest in handful of new treatments for hepatitis C, a chronic infection that afflicts at least 3 million Americans and is a leading cause of liver failure. It was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in December.

"Everyone is still scrambling to figure out how to handle this," said J. Mario Molina, president and CEO of Molina Healthcare, one of the nation's largest Medicaid managed care companies, which is seeking emergency guidelines from the 11 states in which it operates. "It's far superior to anything we've had to treat hepatitis C. The problem is it's extraordinarily expensive."

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Source: Kaiser Health News