State prisons across the U.S. are failing to treat at least 144,000 inmates who have hepatitis C, a curable but potentially fatal liver disease, according to a recent survey and subsequent interviews of state corrections departments. Many of the 49 states that responded to questions about inmates with hepatitis C cited high drug prices as the reason for denying treatment. The drugs can cost up to $90,000 for a course of treatment.

Nationwide, roughly 97 percent of inmates with hepatitis C are not getting the cure, according to the survey conducted for a master’s project at the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Advocates say this ignores a 1976 Supreme Court ruling that determined an inmate’s medical care is a constitutional right.