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Hepatitis C Cases On The Rise In Florida

May 16, 2018

The Florida Department of Health says the rate for new infections of Hepatitis C in 2016 was the highest it’s ever been in Florida. 

When a hepatitis C treatment called Harvoni was released in 2014, Dr. Ronald Cirillo knew it was big.

"It's the reason that dragged me out of retirement!" he says.

Amid an ongoing lawsuit, the Florida Department of Corrections is now asking the legislature for more than $19 million in funding to treat inmates with the Hepatitis C virus.

Florida Medicaid has spent at least $30.6 million in the past year on costly drug treatments for Hepatitis C, according to records from the Agency for Health Care Administration. 

Most of the spending was for Sovaldi, an antiviral approved by the Food and Drug Administration in December 2013. It was fast-tracked after clinical trials showed it had a high cure rate for patients in advanced stages of liver disease who were infected with the most common strain of the Hepatitis C virus.