- Researchers published a cost-effectiveness analysis in the Annals of Internal Medicine arguing that treating the 500,000 currently incarcerated hepatitis C (HCV)-infected prisoners with Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) could save money long-term for Medicaid systems that would otherwise have to support the prisoners' treatment upon their release.
- The U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisoners already recommends Sovaldi and gets a 44% discount on the drug through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
- Despite discounts and arguments for cost-effectiveness, many prison officials still express concern that the system can't afford to treat HCV-infected prisoners with Sovaldi.
In light of the long-term consequences of untreated HCV-1, which include liver cancer, the argument for spending big on treatments like Sovaldi now in exchange for future savings hold a lot of merit. But even though this logic is supported by solid pharmacoeconomic analysis, the cost of current treatment for prisons (which can be as high as $30 billion) is still considered by many to be far too steep.
You can read an abstract of the Annals of Internal Medicine study here.