Judge orders Washington Medicaid to cover lifesaving hepatitis C drugs for all

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A federal judge has ordered Washington state's Medicaid provider to cover expensive drugs that can cure hepatitis C infections for all patients with the liver-destroying disease, not just the sickest.

The injunction is a response to a class-action lawsuit filed against Medicaid on behalf of nearly 28,000 patients who were prescribed the drug but denied it due to its high cost, according to The Seattle Times.

Harvoni, the drug in discussion, costs about $95,000 for a 12-week treatment and has a 90 percent cure rate in treating hepatitis C.

U.S. District Court Judge John C. Coughenour granted a preliminary injunction on Friday, which forces the state Health Care Authority to stop the 2015 policy that calculated access to Harvoni by a fibrosis score, which measured the severity of the patients' liver scarring.

The judge ruled HCA's policy was not consistent with state and federal Medicaid requirements that drugs be distributed based on medical need.

HCA officials are reviewing the injunction. The ruling orders all parties to report back within 60 days.

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