Louisiana Pushes For Netflix-Subscription Style In Buying Hepatitis C Drugs


Louisiana is implementing a new payment scheme dubbed as the "Netflix model" to pay for pricey hepatitis C meds in a bid to help more financially struggling patients.

Gov. John Bel Edwards explained on Thursday that the state's new model entails the government paying for a substantial fee to a drug manufacturer, pretty much how subscribers pay to streaming service provider Netflix for a month in exchange of unlimited access to its wide array of content. Instead, with this model, the state can have infinite access to drugs as well.

Unlimited Access To Hepatitis C Drugs

That said, the state also sent out solicitation to drug manufacturers to ask them to bid for the contract. Officials are crossing their fingers that they will be able to find one by July. Specifically, the plan aims to pay drug manufacturers five years in advance for the unlimited access of the medications.

"I've had conversations with a number of governors to make sure they're aware of what we're doing — and if and when we're successful, we're going to have something worthy of emulation and replication around the country," the governor said.

Expensive Hepatitis C Meds

Hepatitis C has no vaccine, but early treatment could prove to be helpful in treating 85 to 100 percent of patients, the Department of Health said. However, medications that are available in the market have been making it hard for other people to gain access to these.

In 2013, a powerful hepatitis C drug came with a hefty price tag, $84,000, which sparked outrage among consumers. Meanwhile, Louisiana, which had explored aggressive means of lowering the prices of the medications, has already tried seeking interest of the Netflix model via a request for information.

Health secretary Rebekah Gee said that they had been in talks with three hepatitis C drug manufacturers, and so far, all have been supportive. AbbVie and Gilead Sciences, which both make the medications, have already expressed their support.

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