Judge allows public employees access to pricey HCV drugs

A King County Superior Court judge has ordered the agency that oversees health insurance for Washington state's public employees to pay for expensive drugs to treat hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in all patients, not just those with the most severe illness.

A King County Superior Court judge has ordered the agency that oversees health insurance for Washington state's public employees to pay for expensive drugs to treat hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in all patients, not just those with the most severe illness. Judge Suzanne Parisien granted a preliminary injunction that requires the state Health Care Authority to halt a policy that limited access to the drugs based on a patient's fibrosis score, a measure of liver damage. The order came in response to a lawsuit filed by two members of the state Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB). Parisien also granted a request to include about 277,000 PEBB members as a protected class in the matter. That number includes people enrolled in the Uniform Medical Plan, including about 4,000 diagnosed with HCV.