A new study has found that state Medicaid programs are rejecting nearly 50 percent of requests to administer expensive hepatitis C drugs to patients.

According to a review of prescription data for Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, 46 percent of requests for such treatment for Medicaid patients were denied. Only five percent of similar requests were denied for Medicare patients and 10 percent for those with private insurance.

Prescription Medication Spilling From an Open Medicine BottleThe study represents the first documentation of a concern raised when the expensive drugs first hit the market: that insurers would limit access to them.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently sent letters to state Medicaid programs expressing concern about the possible denial of expensive prescription drugs to Medicaid patients.

For more information about access to hepatitis C medicine and the recently completed study, see this Philadelphia Inquirer article.