2 inmates sue state over hepatitis C treatment

Published 9:32 am Wednesday, May 27, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS — Two prisoners who have hepatitis C are suing the Minnesota Department of Corrections because they want access to expensive new drug treatments.

The International Humanitarian Law Institute filed the lawsuit in federal court this month on behalf of the inmates. The institute is seeking class action status for hundreds of other inmates with the serious liver condition.

New drug treatments for hepatitis C can cost as much as $90,000 for full treatment. Minnesota’s Medicaid program paid pharmacies about $1 million for hepatitis C drugs in 2013 and about $9 million last year.

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State corrections officials said it’s not true that inmates don’t have access to the new medications. But, officials declined to talk specifically about the institute’s lawsuit.