A federal judge in Pennsylvania has blasted a prison policy that denies former death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal and others an expensive hepatitis C drug until they have advanced liver damage.
U.S. District Judge Robert Mariani says the policy amounts to "conscious disregard" for prisoners' health, but notes that courts across the country are struggling to decide who should get the drugs.
The judge on Wednesday rejected Abu-Jamal's lawsuit after finding he sued the wrong prison officials. His lawyers say they will refile it to include the hepatitis treatment committee.
Experts told the judge the latest antiviral drugs are highly effective at curing hepatitis.
The 62-year-old Abu-Jamal is serving a life term for the 1981 killing of a Philadelphia police officer. He is a former Black Panther and radio reporter.