House and Senate-passed legislation that will fund government programs for the rest of FY2013 capped spending for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) at approximately $900 million. With price increase for AIDS drugs outpacing funding for ADAP, the pressure is on Gilead – the nation’s largest AIDS drug company – and other AIDS drug manufacturers to lower prices in order to prevent waiting lists for lifesaving care. Gilead’s Stribild was FDA-approved in Fall 2012 at a retail price of $28,500 per year, making it the most expensive HIV combination drug on the market.
WASHINGTON (March 27, 2013) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today called on Gilead Sciences, Inc. and other AIDS drug manufacturers to lower prices for government-run AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP) nationwide following a funding cap for the program set by Congress in legislation funding the government for the rest of FY2013. Without action by the drug companies and states to negotiate lower prices, ADAP waiting lists could leave as many as 8,000 people across several states without access to lifesaving treatment.
“After years of increasing funding for ADAP in hopes of ensuring access to lifesaving care for people with HIV/AIDS, only to see the money go to pay for overpriced new drugs and subsidize million dollar bonuses for drug industry CEOs, Congress has finally put its foot down and said enough is enough,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “The onus is now Gilead, the nation’s largest and most profitable AIDS drug manufacturer, and other AIDS drug companies to reduce prices in order to avert deadly waiting lists.”
“Gilead has treated government funding for ADAPs as its personal piggy bank, showing little regard for the impact of its drug pricing policies on access to care for people with HIV/AIDS,” said Tim Boyd, AHF’s Director of Domestic Policy. “At a time when nearly ten-thousand people were on waiting lists for AIDS drugs, Gilead was paying its CEO, John Martin over $54 million a year, making him the tenth-highest CEO in the county. Now, on the verge of this next crisis – if it is not averted – Martin’s pay has jumped to over $90 million. Clearly, Gilead can afford to act responsibly by lowering prices so that more people are not denied access to lifesaving treatment.”
Background on ADAP and Congressional Actions
Congress has taken drastic action to increase funding for ADAPs, even as the cost of drugs used in the programs have continued to rise. For example, in April 2011, congress increased the budget for ADAPs by $48 million, the largest single-year increase for the program in nearly a decade. In addition, last year, the department of Health and Human Services (HHS) transferred $30 million in “emergency funding” to ADAPs to help address growing waiting lists.
According to the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) in its 2012 report on ADAPs, drug spending by the programs has increased more than nine-fold (806%) since 1996, almost three times the rate of client growth over this same period (341% increase between 1996 and 2011). AHF’s internal analysis of recent drug pricing trends has found that, since 2000, the average price of new HIV/AIDS medicines has increased nearly 70 percent.