Gilead Science’s hepatitis C cure Harvoni costs $99,000 for a 12-week treatment, and health insurance companies are denying coverage for patients unless they are extremely sick.
Hepatitis C and Harvoni
Harvoni has been hailed as a “miracle” drug for hepatitis C because it cures 95% of patients and has far fewer side effects than other treatments. Unfortunately, it is very expensive.
Many health insurance companies are not providing coverage unless Harvoni is “medically necessary,” meaning the patient has fibrosis or cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver.
The problem is that by the time hepatitis C has progressed to that point, it is not uncommon for patients to be suffering from debilitating fatigue, jaundice, chronic pain, and other symptoms. Furthermore, the longer the patient goes without a cure, the higher the chances they will transmit hepatitis C to another person.