AIDS, Hepatitis C advocates protest Gilead at C.R.O.I.; also host drug-pricing forum

In Advocacy, News by AHF


AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), Citywide Project, and the HCV Coalition for the Cure will also co-host a community forum on fair drug pricing at Atlanta’s Phillip Rush Center to coincide with the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI)

Atlanta (March 4, 2013)— AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), in partnership with Citywide Project Atlanta and the HCV Coalition for the Cure are convening a two-day community Drug Pricing Forum Monday, March 4 and Tuesday March 5, 2013 on the impact of high drug prices and drug development on HIV and Hepatitis C care. Advocates from the forum will also protest Gilead Sciences’ HIV/AIDS drug pricing policies at the CROI conference on outside the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta on both days. In September, the FDA approved Gilead’s new four-in-one AIDS treatment combination Stribild, and the drug company immediately priced Stribild at $28,500 per patient, per year, Wholesale Acquisition Cost (WAC)—a whopping 37% more than the price of Gilead’s best-selling three-in-one AIDS treatment, Atripla—and making it the most expensive combination HIV drug on the market.

WHAT: DRUG PRICING FORUM – 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM, Phillip Rush Center, Atlanta
WHEN: TUESDAY, March 5, 2013 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM
WHERE: DRUG PRICING FORUM – The Phillip Rush Center: 1530 DeKalb Avenue, Suite A, Atlanta, GA 30307

WHAT: PROTEST OF GILEAD SCIENCES @ CROI CONFERENCE – 1:30 PM EST outside the Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta
WHEN: TUESDAY, March 5, 2013 1:30pm
WHERE: PROTEST – Outside the CROI Conference at the Georgia World Congress Center: 285 Andrew Young International Blvd NW, Atlanta, GA

CONTACTS: Tim Boyd, 213.590.7375 Jason King 954.610.3064

Already this year, on January 1, Gilead raised the prices of four key AIDS medications by an average of 6%, including the price of Atripla, its best-selling three-in-one combination treatment, the price of which was increased by 6.9% to a Whole Acquisition Cost (WAC) of $1,878.23 per patient, per month. The other three HIV/AIDS medications that saw price hikes are Complera, which was raised by 5.8% to a WAC of $1,936.53; Emtriva, by 5.5% to a WAC of $478.45; and Viread, by 6% to a WAC of $771.39.

“Our first line of defense against Gilead’s ‘predatory pricing’ of its drugs is to educate and mobilize the communities that are affected, which is why we are convening this drug pricing forum and protest in Atlanta this week. With the CROI conference brining in HIV/AIDS stakeholders from around the world, it is a great environment to mobilize consumers and advocates around the importance of fair drug pricing for achieving global AIDS control,” said Tim Boyd, Director of Domestic Policy for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “As a major sponsor of the CROI conference, Gilead thinks it can buy its way out of taking responsibility for the impact of its high drug prices on patients. However, through the drug pricing forum and protests at CROI, we will shed light on the real Gilead: a company that has generated record profits – and over $54 million in annual pay for its CEO – at the expense of state ADAP and Medicaid programs, the largest purchasers of Gilead’s products, and the people living with HIV/AIDS that rely on these programs but cannot access them due to funding constraints.“

One of the co-hosts of the drug forum, HCV Coalition for the Cure, is seeking to shed more light on the delay in developing a cure for Hepatitis C. “Few people know a cure for the condition has been found and could be available to patients if not for the stubborn refusal of Gilead to cooperate with BMS, a refusal motivated solely by the same corporate greed that led Gilead to raise the prices of four of its HIV medications at the beginning of this year,” said Kim Salazar, HCV Coalition for the Cure. “While Gilead holds out their cooperation in an effort to squeeze every last nickel from this lifesaving drug combination, millions of people around the world are dying from complications related to Hepatitis C, or, at best, they’re putting up with painful and harmful physical side effects from the presently available treatment.”

“$28,500 per patient, per year for Gilead’s new four-in-one AIDS drug Stribild—a drug which in many ways is another ‘me too’ drug offering only marginally better efficacy for a Cadillac cost—illustrates just how unsustainable drug pricing has become,” said William Francis, Head of Citywide Project Atlanta. “28,500 is more than most AIDS patients in the US—earn in any given year. Runaway drug pricing limits access to lifesaving AIDS medications by gouging hard-hit government aid programs as well as private insurers.”

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