Study finds hepatitis C cure saved Medicaid $15 billion

New research underscores the critical role that medicines play in improving health and reducing disease complications.

Lindsey SeidlitzJanuary 5, 2023

Study finds hepatitis C cure saved Medicaid $15 billion.

New research published in the American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC) underscores the critical role that medicines play in improving health and reducing disease complications and other, often costly, medical care and services. The study finds that since curative direct-acting antiviral medications for hepatitis C were approved in 2013, even after factoring in the cost of treatment, Medicaid has saved an estimated $15 billion in avoided health care costs and nearly 285,000 Medicaid enrollees are estimated to have been cured.

The hepatitis C virus, or HCV, is a devastating disease that progresses slowly over time and can cause severe damage to the liver and other complications. Historically, HCV was the leading cause of liver cancer and the most common reason for a liver transplant. 2013 marked a paradigm shift in the treatment of HCV, ushering in a new era of highly effective treatments thanks to innovation from the biopharmaceutical industry. Over the past decade, subsequent treatment regimens have offered continued improvements. Today, more than 95% of HCV infected persons can be cured of the disease.

While these curative treatments introduced a significant opportunity to treat HCV, the high prevalence of HCV in the Medicaid population caused some concern about costs. But by 2017, this new study shows that the savings realized by Medicaid from avoided disease complications and related health costs fully offset the costs of treatment to cure HCV– underscoring the value of these medicines in contributing to the long-term sustainability of the program.


Year after year, as more patients in Medicaid are cured of HCV and savings continue to grow, the total cost of these treatments since they were introduced are fully offset by the total savings achieved through reductions in health care costs. By 2026, the cumulative amount of these savings is estimated to reach $43 billion dollars.

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