Acting Prison Minister Sozar Subari. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–The acting prison minister in Georgia says screening procedures have revealed a very high level of hepatitis C infections in prisons.

Sozar Subari said Tuesday at a session with parliamentary committees that the ratio of infected inmates at the women’s facility is 17 percent. He also said that there are more than 50 percent of infected prisoners in another group which he failed to specify.

Subari said the ministry is starting to offer free hepatitis C treatment in the prisons.

He said the tender process is almost finished and expressed hope that by the end of the month, the price of medicine will be a third of what it was.

The prison minister explained that the condition for the tender is to buy necessary medicine for thousand of prisoners for the lowest price.

“The company must also sell the medicine to the rest of society at the same price. This means that medicine for hepatitis C should become 70 percent cheaper for the society,” he added.

Subari noted that medicine for hepatitis C treatment costs USD 235-260 in Georgia; one of highest price levels in the world.

Last month, the Health Ministry announced that it will begin the new program to lower the prices for hepatitis C treatment.

Acting Health Minister Davit Sergeenko said treatment would be free for prisoners and cheap for others.