State payers may face financial incentives to restrict use of high-cost medications. Yet, restrictions on access to high-value medications may have deleterious effects on population health. Direct-acting antivirals (DAAs), available since 2013, can cure chronic infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV). With prices upward of $90,000 for a treatment course, states have struggled to ensure access to DAAs for Medicaid beneficiaries and the incarcerated, populations with a disproportionate share of HCV. Advance purchase commitments (APCs), wherein a payer commits to purchase a certain quantity of medications at lower prices, offer payers incentives to increase access to high-value medications while also offering companies guaranteed revenue. This article discusses the use of subscription models, a type of APC, to support increased access to high-value DAAs for treating HCV. First, the authors provide background information about HCV, its treatment, and state financing of prescription medications. They then review the implementation of HCV subscription models in two states, Louisiana and Washington, and the early evidence of their impact. The article discusses challenges to evaluating state-sponsored subscription models, and it concludes by discussing implications of subscription models that target DAAs and other high-value, high-cost medicines.
Keywords: advanced purchase commitments; affordability; equity; prescription drugs; subscription models.
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