Hepatitis C is an infectious disease that affects 71 million people worldwide and causes liver failure and death if untreated. In 2013, a direct acting antiviral drug, sofosbuvir, revolutionized treatment of the disease. Sofosbuvir showed immense promise, but the high price point at which it was launched created access barriers that prevented it from reaching its full public health potential. By 2016, fewer than 1% of Hepatitis C patients worldwide had received treatment. In the United States (US), concerns about the cost of the drug led public and private payers to implement rationing and treatment restrictions that prevented some of the most vulnerable populations from accessing Hepatitis C treatment at all. Through interviews with researchers, patients and providers, and a literature review of grants, patents, papers, court documents, and news articles, I examine the history of sofosbuvir with attention to the ways in which federal funding practices and intellectual property law encouraged the high initial pricing of the drug. I then examine the impact of this drug on healthcare systems in the United States and abroad, and discuss how the fragmented nature of the United States healthcare system has exacerbated price-based barriers to access. Finally, I discuss intellectual property laws as potential mechanisms to increase access. My study underscores how the political reluctance to use well-established federal funding and intellectual property laws has resulted in a drug development system that delivers medications that are so highly priced that the fragmented US healthcare system cannot compensate for the expense. This leads to low access and poor public health outcomes, and a continued failure to contain or control diseases for which effective therapies exist.