Health

Oregon Considers Hepatitis C Coverage For Medicaid Patients

By Kristian Foden-Vencil (OPB)
Portland, Ore. Nov. 30, 2018 9:32 p.m.

The committee that recommends medication coverage on the Oregon Health Plan wants the state to start paying for hepatitis C treatments.

Oregon has one of the highest rates of hepatitis C mortality rates in the nation.

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And it’s a tough disease to deal with.

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Related: There's A Cure For Hepatitis C, But Oregon Limits Access

Patients can have it for decades without knowing, and it can wreak havoc with overall health — particularly the liver.

But treatment is expensive. One pill can cost $1,000, and a three-month course of drugs can cost between $27,000 and $90,000.

But the Oregon Health Authority’s chief medical officer, Dr. Dana Hargunani, still thinks the treatment should be included for the state’s Medicaid population.

“We definitely believe this is the right thing to do for Oregon,” Hargunani said.

Hepatitis C is most common among baby boomers. It’s not clear why, but old, unscreened blood transfusions, intravenous drug use and unprotected sex are thought to play a role.

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