LOS ANGELES (October 2, 2015) — Today AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) President Michael Weinstein released the following statement on President Obama nominating cardiologist Dr. Robert M. Califf to head the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
“While Dr. Califf’s contributions to the research and clinical science community are well known and commendable, his cozy relationship with the pharmaceutical industry is simply too close for comfort—especially for those of us who are desiring tougher regulation of the industry and are fighting to keep drug prices down. We’ve seen drug specialty prices—and profits—increase to astronomical heights in the recent years and what the country urgently needs is a strong FDA commissioner who will tirelessly advocate for bringing those prices back down to earth.”
Following a decision by Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli to institute a 5,000% price hike in Daraprim—a medication used to treat toxoplasmosis in AIDS patients—shortly after acquiring the drug until widespread public outrage prompted Shkreli to backtrack, AHF expressed support in September for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton vowing to reform the specialty drug market and encouraged the other presidential candidates to detail their plans for addressing the issue of drug industry pricing and regulation.
In order to curb massive increases in drug prices that three-quarters of the American public (76%) have ranked as a top priority (according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released in April), AHF is sponsoring two state ballot initiatives in California and Ohio to give the states increased bargaining power to obtain lower drug prices.