Federal judge: N Carolina must stop limiting hepatitis drugs

March 21, 2019 - 1:16 pm

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A federal judge is ordering North Carolina prison authorities to quit denying expensive medicines to most inmates believed to carry a potentially deadly blood-borne infection.

U.S. District Judge William Osteen this week ordered that the three inmates suing prison officials immediately receive the drugs. They cost about $33,000 and are for a hepatitis C treatment regimen that should prevent liver cancer, cirrhosis or other ailments.

The judge said estimates for inmates who may have the infection and could need treatment are between around 6,000 and 12,000 of North Carolina's prison population of 36,000.

Osteen said the lawsuit is still in an early stage will cover all current and future prisoners in Department of Public Safety custody who could have hepatitis C.

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