How (Much) to Save a Life?

Evaluating the Impact Insurance Companies Have on Health Care

Currently, almost half of Medicaid patients diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C have been denied access to Sovaldi. Restricted access to Sovaldi, Gilead Sciences’ “blockbuster” hepatitis C drug, is becoming an unfair reality for the majority of Medicaid recipients. Although almost every Medicaid program covers Sovaldi, the prior authorization restrictions placed on the availability of the drug make it practically impossible to obtain. This Note argues that insurance companies, specifically Medicaid, should not have unbridled control over the availability of specialty drugs to patients who cannot afford treatment on their own. Providing a tax benefit to the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture these specialty drugs, or to insurance companies that choose to cover a significant portion of the cost of specialty pharmaceuticals, will counteract the considerable research, development, and manufacturing costs of these drugs and will make them more affordable to those who are suffering.

The full text of this Note is available to download as a PDF.