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In 2013, a cure for hepatitis C — a chronic viral infection that, if untreated, can lead to fatal liver disease — was brought to market. But who would get the $100,000 lifesaving treatment? That’s been a subject of political and legal battles ever since.

In May 2017, the Wolf administration announced that Pennsylvania would expand Medicaid coverage of the treatment to anyone with hepatitis C, instead of treating only those with signs of liver damage.

Now, through a settlement filed Monday in federal court, 5,000 incarcerated Pennsylvanians who have hepatitis C would also have access to antiviral drugs that are effective in 95 percent of cases.

“This settlement, if approved by the court, will be a landmark in medical care in our state prisons and will greatly advance public health in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania [Department of Corrections] has taken an important step in healthcare that puts them at the forefront of care for people with chronic hep C,” said David Rudovsky, who filed the lawsuit with the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project and the Dechert law firm.

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