May 16, 2018
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) today announced a cost-saving agreement with Merck to treat inmates with certain chronic hepatitis c infection (HCV) throughout Florida’s 50 correctional institutions.
Secretary Julie Jones, “Inmate health services is a key constitutional responsibility of the Department, and we are pleased to enter this agreement with Merck, and align our treatment with the evolving standard of care that is recognized nationally for HCV. This agreement will help us treat and prevent the spread of this disease, provide savings to Florida’s taxpayers and address this growing public health issue.”
“In order to reach the goal of eliminating chronic hepatitis C, we believe it is part of our responsibility to work with government, healthcare providers and the community as a whole to help break barriers and increase access to care for populations that may be disproportionately impacted by HCV,” said John Schwind, executive director, Merck.
In November, Secretary Julie Jones, sent a letter to the leading pharmaceutical companies that make treatments for HCV, asking for innovative solutions and a partnership with Florida. Merck met with the Department and agreed to a multi-year agreement for the provision of one of their HCV drugs.
FDC is the third largest state correctional system in the United States. The Department has a constitutional mandate to provide health care for all inmates incarcerated, this includes preventative health services, dental, mental health treatment, hospital care, and treatment of chronic disease. FDC is committed to ensuring inmates receive appropriate medical and behavioral health care that is in line with evolving standards of care nationally.
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs 24,000 members statewide, incarcerates approximately 97,000 inmates and supervises nearly 167,000 offenders in the community.