AHF Lauds Rep. Alcee Hastings (D, FL) for Congressional Letter Cautioning Gilead on Pricing of New AIDS Drug

<0> AHF Lauds Rep. Alcee Hastings (D, FL) for Congressional Letter Cautioning Gilead on Pricing of New AIDS Drug </0>

<0> AIDS Healthcare FoundationCommunications Director+1-323-791-5526 [cell]orAssoc. Dir. of Communications323-308-1834 [work]323-377-4312 [cell] </0>

today lauded (D, FL 23rd Congressional District) for a he wrote—and which a dozen of his fellow Members of Congress cosigned—to in which the Congressmembers state they are by media reports indicating Gilead may charge may charge thousands more than existing AIDS drugs for its latest HIV/AIDS drug known as the ‘Quad.’ In the letter, the Congressmembers also urge Gilead

Fellow Congressional cosigners of the letter to Gilead urging restraint on HIV/AIDS drug pricing include: Eleanor Holmes Norton, (D, Washington, DC); (D, FL 3rd District); (D, CA 17th District); (IL 4th District); (D, CA 35th District); (D, CA 6th District); (D, IL 9th District); (D, AZ 7th District); (D, NY 22nd District); (D, CA 34th District); (D, FL 20th District) and (D, FL 19th District).

In the letter, dated August 1, 2012, the Members of Congress wrote:

“Recent news reports place Gilead CEO John Martin as the tenth highest paid CEO in America, with reported earnings of over $53 million last year. We applaud and thank Representative Hastings and his fellow Members of Congress for acknowledging Gilead’s contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS over the years, but also writing directly to Mr. Martin to urge him that Gilead now show some restraint as it prices the Quad when bringing it to market later this year,” said , President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “It would be unconscionable—but, sadly, not entirely unexpected—if Gilead priced the Quad higher than similar drugs already on the market, particularly when the Quad is only a marginal improvement over other existing medications. In the long run, the cost to Gilead to actually produce the Quad will be a small fraction of its selling price, which means Gilead can show restraint on Quad pricing and still make an enormous profit.”

In closing the letter to Martin, Hastings and his fellow Congress Members wrote:

According the New York Times (by Donald G. McNeil, Jr., July 2, 2012):

The ‘Quad’ will hit the market later this year and will likely be priced nearly two times as much as the most expensive drug that state purchase, without representing a significant improvement over existing medications. State ADAPs—which provide lifesaving HIV/AIDS medications to low-income Americans—are facing a funding shortage. As of August 9, 2012, there were 1,125 individuals on ADAP waiting lists in seven states, according to a publication of the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD). Rising drug prices are a key contributor to the current ADAP crisis—the program simply cannot afford to provide medicines to an increasing number of people in need.

In June, AHF’s call for Gilead to price the Quad reasonably was echoed by who sent a to the California-based Gilead urging the company to set an initial price the “Quad” that is “…and which will also In his letter dated June 18, 2012 and addressed to , Treasurer Lockyer also stated:

The sharp increases in AIDS drug costs are fueled by the skyrocketing prices of each new generation of drugs. By law, ADAP drug prices for existing drugs cannot increase more than inflation. However, there are no restrictions on the price charged for new drugs. The companies have exploited this fact, increasing the price of their new products by tens of thousands of dollars in order to offset the discounts they must provide to ADAPs and other programs.

This trend could not be clearer: Since 1995, the average price of new AIDS drugs has increased 163%.

Currently, there are several drugs in development that will pose a huge threat to ADAPs if they are priced higher than the current generation of antiretrovirals. Chief among them is Gilead Sciences’ so-called ‘Quad’. The Quad combines Truvada with Elvitegravir (an integrase inhibitor similar to Merck’s Isentress) and Cobicistat (a blood booster similar to the decade-old Norvir). The FDA is currently reviewing Gilead’s application to approve the Quad, but it is expected to hit the market sometime this year. The Quad may end up costing nearly two times as much as the most expensive drug ADAP purchases, and in some cases three or four times as much as other drugs.

(AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 176,000 individuals in 27 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: , find us on Facebook: and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare.