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Press Releases

NYC Health + Hospitals to Triple the Number of People Treated for Hepatitis C in Jail

Correctional Health Services, a division of NYC Health + Hospitals, continues to be a national leader in treating and curing hepatitis C patients in jail and connecting people to care upon release

Oct 13, 2016

New York, NY

Dr. Ram Raju, President and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals, today announced that through a combination of funding in the NYC Budget and a partnership with Merck & Co., the City, between Fiscal Year 2016 and Fiscal Year 2017, will be able to triple the number of incarcerated patients who will receive medication that can cure hepatitis C.
“NYC Health + Hospitals is committed to the health and well-being of all New Yorkers. We are proud to be able to expand life-saving hepatitis C treatment to some of the most vulnerable patients in our City and ensure that people moving into and out of the corrections system can receive a full course of treatment and services,” said Dr. Raju.
“The cost of not treating this disease is devastating in both human and financial terms,” said Dr. Patsy Yang, Senior Vice President of NYC Health + Hospitals for Correctional Health Services. “As one of the largest providers of correctional health services in the nation, we have the rare opportunity and moral obligation to treat and cure individuals in our care who have this serious, transmissible disease. As part of the nation’s largest public hospital system, we can leverage an extensive ambulatory care network to ensure that treatment can be completed even in this transient population. We applaud Merck & Co. for its commitment to extending even further the possibility of a cure to more people.”
New York City operates one of only two jail systems in the nation that initiates treatment for patients during incarceration. In April, the City announced that over the next five years it will expand the provision of a drug regimen that cures hepatitis C with $2.5 million in funding in Fiscal Year 2017, ramping up to $5 million in the following years. To increase the impact of this funding, NYC Health + Hospitals partnered with Merck & Co. to obtain its hepatitis C drug ZEPATIER at a discounted price and will use this therapy exclusively unless it is not advisable for an individual patient or not medically appropriate. The combination of new funding, which brings the program’s budget to $4.4 million, and the discounted drug price will enable the City to treat and cure over 100 patients in Fiscal Year 2017.
Hepatitis C is a lifelong disease that can cause permanent damage to the liver over a period of decades, but it can be cured if it is diagnosed and appropriately treated. According to the NYC Department of Health, approximately 2.4 percent of New Yorkers ages 20 and older live with hepatitis C. The highest rates are among the incarcerated population, and CHS estimates that approximately 12 percent of its patients are living with hepatitis C. Patients who enter the jail system and are taking medication for hepatitis C will continue to receive treatment, while treatment initiation is determined based on clinical criteria and the likelihood that the treatment course can be completed in the jail system.

Contact: Levi Fishman, 646-614-0049