The Week in Review: September 29 – October 6, 2017

Friday, October 6, 2017 News Recap: Liver Cancer Two studies on liver cancer in the news last week highlighted the global prevalence and causes of this terrible disease.  The first showed a direct correlation between excess weight and cancer occurrence (including liver cancer) – Cancers linked to excess weight make up 40% of all US diagnoses, study finds, while the second focussed on the global incidence of primary liver cancer. Hepatitis B virus wa...

U.S.: Hepatitis C Drug’s Lower Cost Paves Way For Medicaid, Prisons To Expand Treatment

Valerie Green is still waiting to be cured. The Delaware resident was diagnosed with hepatitis C more than two years ago, but she doesn’t qualify yet for the Medicaid program’s criteria for treatment with a new class of highly effective but pricey drugs. The recent approval of a less expensive drug that generally cures hepatitis C in just eight weeks may make it easier for more insurers and correctional facilities to expand treatment. The drug, Mavyret, i

U.S.: Treating Medicaid Patients With Hepatitis C: Clinical and Economic Impact

Hepatitis C virus treatment is often restricted in Medicaid [in Canada this would be PharmaCare] patients. This analysis evaluates the clinical and cost impacts of treating all Medicaid patients versus the current status quo. The objectives of this study were to estimate change in chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) disease and the economic burden associated with comprehensive treatment of the chronic HCV–infected Medicaid population. As has long been pred

Broader access to costly Hep C drugs may yield few benefits for Pa. Medicaid, study finds

A new study that projects what could happen if Pennsylvania covered the costly treatment of hepatitis C for everyone in Medicaid yields some surprises for policymakers nationwide: Few lives would be saved. Some patients might actually fare worse. The federal government would likely reap savings, at the expense of the states. The counter-intuitive findings from the University of Pittsburgh may become part of pitched debates in state capitols and the incomi

U.S.: Settlement Reached on Washington State Medicaid Denial of Pricey Hep C Drugs

The Health Care Authority on Monday reached a settlement agreement in a class action lawsuit that sought broader coverage of costly hepatitis C drugs for Medicaid patients in Washington state. The settlement has yet to be approved by a judge but lawyers are hopeful it will be soon. In the past several years, multiple pharmaceutical companies nationwide have developed direct-acting antiviral drugs that cure hepatitis C in more than 90 percent of patient

Colorado board recommends expanded coverage for hepatitis C drug

ACLU threatens lawsuit over coverage policy A state board recommended Tuesday night that more needy Coloradans receive potentially curative treatments for hepatitis C. But the board stopped short of recommending that the treatments — new drugs that have been shown to have a 90 percent cure rate — be extended to all Coloradans on Medicaid. And that means the American Civil Liberties Union may file a federal lawsuit against the state to force it to provi

U.S.: Foundation calls PA’s treatment of hepatitis C troubling

A state advisory committee recently recommended that Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program pay to treat all patients suffering from hepatitis C — not just those who have advanced or life-threatening cases of the disease. In a 10-7 vote last month, Pennsylvania’s Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee decided to support a lift on restrictions that keep patients with less-severe cases of hepatitis C from receiving treatment, a constraint intended to reduce costs.

U.S.: Delaware lifts restrictions on who can qualify for hepatitis C treatment

Delaware is phasing out its restrictions on who can get newer, more effective hepatitis C treatments. The drugs are essentially a cure for a blood-borne disease that's a leading cause of liver failure in the United States. But the cost has put many states, including Delaware, in a fiscal bind. In 2014, Delaware spent nearly $2.5 million to treat 44 people; last year, it cost the state $13.5 million to treat 141 people. Stephen Groff, director of Del

U.S.: Denying Medicaid Patients Access to Hep C Treatments is Wrong and Illegal

Elizabeth G. Taylor Executive Director of the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) Imagine you are diagnosed with cancer. Your doctor tells you that your cancer is completely curable. But unfortunately, the cure is very expensive. It is so expensive that your insurance won’t pay for the cure until your cancer has advanced to stage three. You will have to suffer for months — possibly even years — before you have a chance at a cure. You may experience

Florida changes hep C drug policy for Medicaid after lawsuit

Florida health officials are changing the state's policy for administering costly hepatitis C drugs to Medicaid patients and will now require insurance companies to provide the drug at an earlier stage in the disease. FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. Florida health officials are changing the state's policy for administering costly hepatitis C drugs to Medicaid patients and will now require insurance companies to provide the drug at an earlier stage in the di