March 10, 2016
As a result of increased funding from Congress and reduced drug prices, the Veterans Affairs (VA) Department will provide hepatitis C treatment to all veterans, regardless of their disease stage, for the current fiscal year. The VA expects to spend nearly $1 billion on treatment during this time, up from the $696 million allocated for hepatitis C drugs in 2015.
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In a statement released by the Department, VA Under Secretary for Health Dr David Shulkin said that in the past, due to budget restrictions, only the sickest patients were able to be treated.
Gilead Sciences, Inc, the maker of two hepatitis C drugs—Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) and Harvoni (edipasvir/sofosbuvir)—has been accused by lawmakers of price gouging. According to an article in Military Times, Gilead charges the federal government as much as $68,000 for a treatment regimen that costs about $1,400 to make.
There are currently 174,000 veterans in its health system with hepatitis C.