A proposed class action has been filed in Pennsylvania federal court by three incarcerated individuals who claim the Pennsylvania State Department of Corrections (PA DOC) has denied proper treatment to prisoners diagnosed with Hepatitis C. Also named as defendants are several individual PA DOC employees, medical staff at the PA State Correction Institution at Pine Grove, and the PA DOC’s previous and current healthcare providers.
The lawsuit explains that Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes inflammation of the liver and can result in serious health conditions, including cirrhosis (irreversible liver scarring) and death. Since 2014, “breakthrough” Direct Acting Anti-Viral Drugs (DAAD) have been available for the treatment of chronic Hepatitis C and are proven to cure the disease without any adverse side effects, the case explains.
The defendants, however, have “arbitrarily” denied DAAD treatment to over 98 percent of prisoners in Pennsylvania diagnosed with the infection, the suit argues. The plaintiffs allege that the defendants’ refusal to treat all prisoners who suffer from chronic Hepatitis C is based solely on the cost of the life-saving drugs and is made without any medical justification. According to the case, only inmates who have already experienced cirrhosis qualify for DAAD treatment, with the rest left to risk “a slow painful death and other irreparable harm.”