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State prison systems are unable to lock up savings by using new hepatitis C treatments because they can’t afford the high price tags.

Less than 1 percent of more than 106,200 inmates in 41 state prison systems were treated as of January 2015 with a new batch of revolutionary medicines, and most prison systems were unable to receive discounts available to other government agencies, according to a study published Wednesday in Health Affairs. The authors surveyed departments of corrections in all 50 states.


“Despite claims by manufacturers that nobody pays the full price, if anybody is paying through the nose for these drugs, it is state prisons,” said Gregg Gonsalves, the lead author of the study and codirector of the Yale Global Health Justice Partnership. “They have some of the highest infection rates in the country and so have extraordinary need, but pay astronomical prices.”

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