PETER ERLINDER – The truth behind the high cost of hepatitis C

Last week’s commentary “Who gets hepatitis C drugs? Who pays?” (Aug. 10) by North Memorial Health Care CEO Kevin Croston and Medica vice president Robert Longendyke responded to a first-in-the-nation class-action lawsuit seeking the new U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “breakthrough” cure for life-threatening hepatitis C infections.

Brought by 1,500 Minnesota Department of Corrections prisoners, the lawsuit was first reported by Christopher Snowbeck of the Star Tribune.

Croston and Longendyke wrote that the prisoners’ suit (filed by the International Humanitarian Law Institute that I founded and direct) started a statewide “conversation” about “ethics, costs and access” because the drugs are a 95 percent effective cure, but cost $90,000 for the 12-week course of daily oral medication.

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