There is a simple, outright cure for hepatitis C. But state prisons across the country are failing to save hundreds of people who die each year from the virus and related complications.
A STAT investigation has found that more than 1,000 incarcerated people died from hepatitis C-related complications in the six years after a curative drug hit the market. The death rate in 2019 was double that of the broader U.S. population.In the stories on this page, reporter Nicholas Florko documents prisons’ blatant refusal to test and treat people with the condition, even, in some cases, in the face of legal orders to do so. He introduces incarcerated people who watched their health deteriorate or lost their lives because of the rationing of hepatitis C drugs. Prisons say the medicine, even as its price drops, is too expensive for them to distribute widely. But incarcerated people are fighting back: Some have fought for the treatment in the courts and won, forcing the system to care for them and, in some cases, other incarcerated hepatitis C patients.
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