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Preventing & Treating Communicable Conditions

In re: HCV Prison Litigation

Overview

In re: HCV Prison Litigation (U.S. District Court – District of Nevada, Feb. 18, 2020): A district court granted class status to incarcerated persons challenging the Nevada Department of Correction’s (NDOC) Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) treatment policy. Per NDOC’s policy, direct-acting antiviral drugs (DAA) treatment, a highly effective HCV treatment, is administered according to three priority levels based on the severity of HCV-positive inmates’ symptoms. Priority level three inmates are less likely to receive DAA treatment. Inmates alleged the policy conflicts with medical standards of care recommending DAA treatment for most HCV-positive individuals. Further, delaying or denying DAA treatment constitutes deliberate indifference under the Eighth Amendment, exposing them to an unreasonable risk of harm—essentially requiring them to get sicker before getting the treatment. The court granted class certification to all persons challenging the policy who: (1) are (or will be) in NDOC’s legal custody; (2) have been incarcerated for at least 21 days with three months remaining; (3) are HCV-positive and candidates for DAA treatment under proper medical standards of care; and (4) will have DAA treatment denied, delayed, or withheld because of the policy or other considerations outside of proper medical standards.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – March 17, 2020.

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