Louisiana health chief studies ways to force down drug costs

Source: MGN

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana's health secretary is clashing with the pharmaceutical industry over the high costs of hepatitis C drugs that she says are so expensive many infected people in the state go without treatment.

Rebekah Gee, a doctor, has enlisted public health and legal experts to study options to lower the price tag for treatment that costs more than $20,000 per patient.

Among the options, Gee said Monday she is exploring use of a little-known, 1910 federal patent law to try to force down prices.

Louisiana has 35,000 people with hepatitis C who are uninsured or on Medicaid, relying on the state for care. Gee said only 320 received drug treatment last year because of high costs.

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