Harvoni can cure hepatitis C, but the drug costs a fortune. Are loans to patients the answer? Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images

A 12-week regimen of Harvoni is 90 percent effective in curing an infection with hepatitis C, doctors say. It also costs about $95,000. Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images
States Deny Pricey Hepatitis C Drugs To Most Medicaid Patients
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/460086615/461206268" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A recent analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that Medicare recipients taking Revlimid for cancer could end up paying, on average, $11,538 out of pocket for the drug in 2016, even if the medicine is covered by their Medicare Part D plan. Carmine Galasso/MCT/Landov hide caption

toggle caption Carmine Galasso/MCT/Landov

Retired California school teacher Mikkel Lawrence sits with his cat, Max. Lawrence has hepatitis C and has struggled to afford the medicine he needs to treat it. April Dembosky/KQED hide caption

toggle caption April Dembosky/KQED

Austin, Indiana's needle exchange program is open for business this week, but health workers worry the program will be tough to quickly replicate in other counties. Darron Cummings/AP hide caption

toggle caption Darron Cummings/AP
Indiana Struggles To Control HIV Outbreak Linked To Injected Drug Use
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/403474785/403474795" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Volunteer Patrick Pezzati searches yards in Turners Falls, Mass., for discarded heroin needles. Karen Brown/WFCR hide caption

toggle caption Karen Brown/WFCR
A Rural Police Chief Asks Citizens To Help Pick Up Used Syringes
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/401722597/402856156" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Volunteers search for needles and other drug paraphernalia along Church Street in Austin, Ind., in April. The region has recorded 142 new HIV cases since December, according to the state, in an outbreak tied to injected-opioid use. Seth Herald/Nurphoto/Corbis hide caption

toggle caption Seth Herald/Nurphoto/Corbis
CDC Warns More HIV, Hepatitis C Outbreaks Likely Among Drug Users
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/401968600/402035073" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The hepatitis C medication Sovaldi, from Gilead Sciences, costs $1,000 per pill. It's just one of the new medications introduced in the past year that can cure the disease within weeks or months. Courtesy of Gilead Sciences via AP hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of Gilead Sciences via AP
Costly Hepatitis C Drugs Threaten To Bust Prison Budgets
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/372721256/372837243" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The newly approved Harvoni tablets bring several advances to the fight against hepatitis C, but they also have a steep price tag, reported at $1,125 for a single dose. Gilead Sciences hide caption

toggle caption Gilead Sciences

Walter Bianco's liver is severely damaged by hepatitis C, but insurers had refused to pay for the medications that could cure him. Alexandra Olgin for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Alexandra Olgin for NPR

Walter Bianco's liver is severely damaged by hepatitis C, but insurers had refused to pay for the medications that could cure him. Alexandra Olgin for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Alexandra Olgin for NPR
Medicare Backs Down On Denying Treatment For Hepatitis Patient
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/312828866/312978146" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript