BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Another effort has been launched to eliminate Hepatitis C among some of the state’s most at-risk populations in Louisiana.
The state is working with biopharmaceutical company, Asegua Theraputics, through a five-year partnership that’ll provide its Hepatitis C medication.
The Department of Health’s contract with Asegua allows the purchase of Epclusa, a generic medication to treat the disease, for people enrolled in the Medicaid program and incarcerated people.
The deal will implement an “innovative payment” model for hepatitis C treatment, according to the a release from the Louisiana Department of Health.
The model allows the state to provide an unrestricted amount of the antiviral medication to treat patients within Louisiana’s Medicaid and Department of Corrections populations and caps the state’s medication costs.
“With this model to purchase hepatitis C medications, we can cure those within the state facilities who have this life-threatening illness and prevent the spread of the illness within our facilities,” said James LeBlanc, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Corrections. “We will also work closely with the Department of Health to implement a plan to screen and treat the local level population either while incarcerated or upon release into supervision. Most importantly, we can make sure these men and women have an opportunity to be even more successful and healthy when they return to their communities.”
In the United States, hepatitis C kills more people than all other infectious diseases combined. At least 39,000 people in Louisiana’s Medicaid program and prison system suffer from hepatitis C infection, according to the health department.
“An elimination plan and innovative payment model will ensure that we can cure this deadly disease and prevent long-term illness and disability in those who have it,” said Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health. “The Department of Health’s goal is to treat at least 31,000 people by the end of 2024 and eventually eliminate this disease.”
Since January 2019, the health department had been searching for a pharmaceutical company that could provide a subscription model to the state. Asegua Therapeutics was selected in April, and set up a modified model with the state.