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Amid ongoing criticism that some states continue to curb access to hepatitis C drugs, Colorado officials have lifted restrictions that determined when patients could receive treatment. Going forward, Medicaid beneficiaries will no longer have to demonstrate an advanced stage of liver disease to be treated.

In explaining their decision, state officials pointed to declining costs for the medicines, which have dropped in price recently as more new drugs become available. Over the summer, AbbVie (ABBV) introduced a treatment that costs $26,400, before rebates and discounts, for an eight-week regimen, which is significantly less than the $84,000 that Gilead Sciences (GILD) charged for 12 weeks of treatment for Sovaldi when it was first marketed four years ago.


“Over the past two years, there are more choices among these drugs, which has driven their cost down substantially,” said Dr. Judy Zerzan, the chief medical officer at the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, in a statement issued on Friday. The department reportedly spent nearly $27 million treating 326 hepatitis C patients last year, or about $82,000 per person.

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