BOSTON (AP) — A prisoners’ rights group has sued the state prisons department, alleging it is withholding treatment for inmates with hepatitis C.

Attorneys for the National Lawyers Guild and Prisoners’ Legal Services filed suit in federal court last week on behalf of three prisoners.

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Attorneys for the prisoners say there are 1,500 infected prisoners in the state, but only three are receiving treatment.

Hepatitis C can result in severe liver problems and potentially death if left untreated.

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The suit argues the state reduced the number of patients treated for hepatitis C to avoid responsibility for treatment and because medication is costly.

The Department of Correction says the current course of treatment costs between $40,000 and $84,000 per person.

An agency spokesman said he could not comment on pending litigation.

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