High Cost of New Hepatitis C Drugs Strains Prison Budgets, Locks Many Out of Cure

Thousands of convicts have the deadly infectious disease, but only the sickest qualify for medicines because they are so expensive.

News Story (Florida)

Peter Loftus, Gary Fields
Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
September 12, 2016

Tags: Health Care, Prisoners Rights

Organizations mentioned/involved: Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project


Pennsylvania’s corrections department has given the drugs to inmates at high risk of developing liver problems and with low blood-platelet levels. Mr. Maldonado isn’t among them, because his disease isn’t advanced enough to meet the department’s criteria, and he has sued seeking treatment.

In a March court filing, the department said treating the state’s estimated 7,000 infected inmates would cost about $600 million, which “would effectively cripple the Department from a budgetary standpoint” and squeeze other medical care and security needs. A spokeswoman declined to comment on Mr. Maldonado’s case.