Officials Working on New Rules for Medi-Cal Coverage of Hep C Drugs
State health officials say that new guidelines for Medi-Cal coverage of costly hepatitis C drugs will take into account effectiveness, research and side effects, rather than cost, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reports.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (Bartolone, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 2/9).
A single drug regimen to treat hepatitis C can cost about $85,000, but drugmakers note that the medication cures 90% of patients with the illness.
Gilead Sciences' hepatitis C drug Sovaldi costs about $1,000 per pill and has been the subject of criticism from America's Health Insurance Plans, as well as eliciting concern from physicians and federal researchers.
Although thousands of Californians need the medication, few can afford it (California Healthline, 1/13).
Need for Coverage
According to "KXJZ News," up to 200,000 Medi-Cal beneficiaries have hepatitis C, but only a fraction will receive the necessary treatment.
As such, the state is assembling a task force to examine high-cost specialty drugs ("KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 2/9).
Meanwhile, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) in his fiscal year 2015-2016 budget proposal allocated about $300 million for high-cost drugs, including medication to treat hepatitis C (California Healthline, 1/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.