Study finds treating inmates who have hepatitis C worth the investment

November 22, 2015

More than 15% of U.S. prison inmates are infected with hepatitis C. A study published in Annals of Internal Medicine shows that as many as 12,000 lives would be saved if inmates were screened and treated with Harvoni or Sovaldi. Treating just those in prison would save $750 million over 30 years, the study finds, even including the cost of screening and medication. The first-year cost of a widespread screening and treatment program in state prisons across the country would cost as much as $1.15 billion. That would require corrections systems to boost their healthcare budgets by 12.4%. The price would drop over time, however. The benefits would accrue mostly to people not in prison, the researchers found, because inmates would not infect people in the community after they are released.