VA Appropriations Bill Passes Senate With Funding for HCV Treatments
On the eve of Veterans Day, the Senate passed H.R. 2029, the fiscal year 2016 appropriations bill for the Department of Veterans Affairs, which awards $900 million for hepatitis C virus treatments.
The bill — which passed the Senate by a 93-0 margin — would fund newer HCV drugs that have higher cure rates than older medications.
That allocation comes at a time when makers of HCV treatments are being pressured about the steep price tags of their products. CMS issued a letter earlier this month to four drug companies that produce or sponsor HCV treatments — AbbVie, Gilead Sciences, Johnson & Johnson and Merck — seeking answers as to why these drugs are so costly.
The Senate and the House still have to agree to a common version of the bill before sending it to President Barack Obama, as the House-passed bill did not include funding for the HCV drugs.