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IDOC says inmate hepatitis drug not as costly

Published: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 11:44 a.m. CST

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois prison officials say a new hepatitis drug likely won't be as costly as initially reported.

Authorities worried Sovaldi could cost the Illinois Department of Corrections tens of millions of dollars if it was used to treat inmates who have the blood-borne infection.

But the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises reports (http://bit.ly/1kWzba7 ) the drug would cost less than $6 million if it's used.

Studies have shown the medication has a cure rate of 95 percent.

Illinois lawmakers introduced legislation banning the agency from using the drug that can cost as much as $61,000 for a single dose, but the measure hasn't been taken up.

IDOC spokesman Tom Shaer says the previous cost estimates are "wildly inaccurate" and said the legislation isn't necessary.

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