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After more than a year of bickering, Colorado officials have settled a lawsuit with prisoners that accused the state of failing to provide sufficient access to hepatitis C treatments. And in doing so, Colorado may effectively become the first state in the U.S. to provide care to all chronically infected inmates.

The deal is the second such settlement among several class-action lawsuits filed against state prison systems around the country over access to the pricey medicines. A lawsuit was settled earlier this year with Massachusetts officials, while others are pending in five other states — Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.


The settlement comes as several prison systems continue to grapple with the cost of hepatitis C drugs. The newest medicines debuted in early 2014 and boast very high cure rates, but initially were priced as high as $94,500, depending upon doses and regimen, before rebates or discounts are applied. This led many prisons to restrict usage, although newer drugs at lower price points have since emerged.

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