Lacking the ability to pay for pricey hepatitis C treatments, the Louisiana Department of Health is exploring a pair of controversial options. One is reaching a deal with drug makers, such as Gilead Sciences (GILD), to license production to a generic company, while the other would be to ask the federal government to override patents so cheaper versions can be made by other manufacturers.

The state agency is responsible for covering approximately 35,000 Medicaid beneficiaries and uninsured residents, but covering the cost of hepatitis C treatments at current prices would run an estimated $764 million. In the current year, the Medicaid pharmacy program expects to spend just $76.2 million, according to a department spokesman.

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  • Would that be COMPULSORY LICENSE? That would be funny if US Trade Representative would list State of Louisiana as a ROUGE state and in violation of trade practices US negotiated with World Trade Organization.

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