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AHF Protests High Cost of Stribild, New AIDS Drug

Group asks for transparency in drug pricing (Sept. 6)

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), based in Washington, D.C., announced on September 6 that it supports an agreement by Gilead Sciences, maker of several key AIDS drugs –– including Stribild, its new four-in-one combination that was recently approved by the FDA –– that will result in significant price concessions and discounts on Stribild for the nation’s AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs), the federally funded, state-run programs that supply lifesaving AIDS drugs to low-income Americans in need. The agreement was reached between Gilead and the ADAP Crisis Task Force (ACTF) of the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD).

The annual wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) of Stribilid is $28,500 per patient.

Michael Weinstein, president of the AHF, said: “After pricing Stribild at the astronomical amount of $28,500 per year, Gilead’s action today will no doubt make the medication more affordable and accessible for hard-hit state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs and the thousands of people who rely on ADAPs for access to the lifesaving antiretroviral AIDS treatments these programs provide.

“However, the price was simply too high to start with, and this cut is not shared widely enough with other struggling programs. We urge Gilead to immediately expand the price concessions on Stribild to Medicaid, Medicare, private insurers and other payers, while also asking that Gilead — and groups like the ADAP Crisis Task Force — greatly increase the transparency on such drug price negotiations. This secrecy leaves us, AIDS patients, medical providers, and others in the dark, something that we believe is totally inappropriate when tax dollars pay for most of these drugs.”

During the past 3 months, AIDS advocates from AHF and other groups spearheaded a campaign urging John C. Martin, CEO of Gilead, not to decimate ADAP and other drug programs by pricing its latest HIV/AIDS drug combination higher than Gilead’s Atripla, currently the most prescribed HIV/AIDS medication.

In a news release on the price concessions, the ADAP Crisis Task Force noted:

“While pleased with the ADAP price of Stribild, the ACTF acknowledges the disappointment and controversy within the larger HIV community about the $28,500 annual WAC price. Setting the price of Stribild above Atripla … may have implications for costs outside of ADAP, including:

  • It sets a higher price level that may be used by other HIV manufacturers introducing new HIV drugs;
  • It may increase costs to the HIV healthcare system in general during a time when healthcare costs are rising rapidly; and
  • It may result in higher out-of-pocket costs for some patients who pay a co-insurance or co-pay based on a percent of the WAC. Gilead’s decision to increase co-pay assistance limits should help mitigate some of these higher out-of-pocket costs for patients.”

For more information, visit the AIDS Healthcare Foundation Web site.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation

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