Oregon Medicaid targets expensive hepatitis drug

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WILSONVILLE, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon Medicaid committee is expected to significantly scale back access to an effective — but expensive — new drug used to treat hepatitis C.

The decision on Thursday would allow only a narrow set of Medicaid patients to be treated with the $1,000-per-pill drug known as Sovaldi.

Medical experts on Oregon's pharmaceutical review committee question whether the drug is worth the price tag. Oregon's guidelines would allow the drug to be used only for patients with later stages of liver damage who have been compliant with previous medical treatments and drug-free for at least six months. The drug could only be prescribed by a liver specialist.

Oregon is grappling with the issue a day after Illinois' Medicaid program put in place tight restrictions on the use of the drug.

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