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Oregon Medicaid targets expensive hepatitis drug

WILSONVILLE, Ore. (AP) — Oregon is significantly scaling back Medicaid patients' access to an effective — but expensive — new drug used to treat hepatitis C. The decision by a state committee on Thursday allows 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 new guidelines allow the drug to be used only for patients with later stages of liver damage who have been drug-free for at least six months. The drug could only be prescribed by a liver or gastrointestinal specialist. Oregon's move comes a day after Illinois' Medicaid program put in place tight restrictions on the use of the drug.

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