Hepatitis C kills more Americans than any other infectious disease. About 30,000 people in Louisiana's Medicaid program and prison system are carrying Hepatitis C. Nationally rates of new infections are growing dramatically as a result of the opioid epidemic.
The high cost of the drugs that eliminate this virus prohibit the state from providing this cure to larger numbers of patients. These high drug prices put barriers in the way for the vulnerable populations who suffer most from this infection—those in Medicaid and incarcerated individuals. Last year, less than 3 percent of people with the infection in Medicaid received treatment.
The Louisiana Department of Health is pursuing innovative payment models which will enable the state to dramatically expand access to the drug with the goal of eventually eliminating Hepatitis C as a public health problem. The Department seeks comments from the public, healthcare professionals, pharmaceutical companies, and others on a plan that will bring us much closer to the goal of Hepatitis C elimination for vulnerable populations.
How it Works
Through a Request for Information, the Louisiana Department of Health is asking for public input on the creation of a subscription-based payment model for Hepatitis C medication. Under this payment model, the state would pay a drug manufacturer or manufacturers for unlimited access to the treatment for the individuals in Louisiana who are enrolled in Medicaid or in Louisiana’s correctional system. The payment to the manufacturer would be equal to or less than what the state is currently spending to provide the antiviral medication to these populations.
“A successful subscription-based model would create an incentive for us to find and treat as many people as possible. For the drug manufacturer, this model would guarantee a fixed purchase price for a contracted period of time, and would allow the drug manufacturer to expand their product reach into populations that otherwise would not have received treatment,” said Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health.
The complete Request for Information can be found here: ldh.la.gov/hepc. Those who wish to provide comment are encouraged to visit this link and provide comments by August 24, 2018.