AHF to Stage “Day of the Dead” Funeral Procession to Protest Gilead’s AIDS Drug Prices

AIDS Advocates to Protest over Gilead’s Pricing of AIDS Drug, Atripla, for Nation’s Hard-Hit AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP); More Than 6,500 Americans Are on ADAP Waitlists in 12 States

Following a Four-Car Mock Funeral Procession from Oakland to Foster City, Participants Will Stage a Mock Funeral Outside of Gilead Headquarters, Wearing Skeleton Masks, Dressed in All-Black, & Carrying a Coffin in Memory of Those Who Have Died While on ADAP Waitlists

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Scores of AIDS advocates will participate in a funeral procession and mock “die-in” protest hosted by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), tomorrow, Wednesday, November 2nd starting in Oakland at 7:30 AM and traveling to the headquarters of Gilead Sciences Inc. in Foster City, to protest the company’s pricing of its HIV/AIDS medications. The four-car funeral procession, directed by two funeral escorts, will begin in Oakland and slowly make its way over the San Mateo Bridge, traveling nearly 30 miles to the Foster City Gilead Science’s headquarters, where protestors will honor and remember those who have died of AIDS while on AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) waitlists. AIDS advocates will wear skeleton masks, be dressed in all black, and will hold banners and handmade signs with the message: “Gilead, do the right thing!” as well as carry a 4 ft. x 2 ½ ft. coffin.

The mock funeral procession and “die-in” protest will be held to highlight the severe crisis facing the nation’s ADAPs, a network of federal and state funded programs that provide life-saving HIV treatments to low income, uninsured, and underinsured individuals living with HIV/AIDS nationwide. The advocates’ goal is to raise public awareness and educate community members—including Gilead employees—regarding the steep prices that government programs are paying for Gilead’s blockbuster HIV/AIDS drug, Atripla (efavirenz & tenofovir & emtricitabine)—currently $10,000 per patient, per year for ADAP.

WHAT:      

Funeral Procession & “Die-in” Protest of Gilead’s AIDS Drug Prices

7:30 AM Pacific Daylight Time

 
WHEN: WEDNESDAY, November 2nd, 2011 at 7:30 AM
 
WHERE:

Funeral procession to begin at 238 East 18th St., Oakland, CA 94606 (Near Out of the Closet Thrift Store)

“Die-In” Protest to take place at the corner of Lakeside and East 3rd in Foster City

(Near Gilead Headquarters at 333 Lakeside Drive, Foster City, CA 94404)

 
CONTACTS:

Eileen Garcia, Community Outreach Manager, (213) 405-5838 cell

Christina McEwen, Communications & Mktg Coordinator, (714) 457-6185 cell, (323) 308-1832 office

The funeral procession and “die-in” protest is an echo of three similar “die-in” protests and a “pill-bottle” protest, which took place recently outside the Foster City Gilead Sciences Inc.’s headquarters. In addition, AIDS Healthcare Foundation previously released a 30-second television commercial: “Gilead: AIDS Drug Prices to Die For.” The ad, which ran on MSNBC and CNN in San Francisco, Foster City and surrounding areas, urged the company to lower prices immediately and directed viewers to send an e-letter to Gilead CEO John Martin by visiting www.2gilead.org.

Tomorrow’s protest coincides with the traditional Mexican holiday, “Day of the Dead”, which brings people together to remember, pray for, and celebrate friends and family members who have died. So in the spirit of the holiday, protesters will remember those who have died while on ADAP waiting lists and send a message that many lives are still at risk.

As of October 27th, there are 6,689 people on waiting lists in twelve states, according to ADAP Watch, published regularly by the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD). The total number of people on that have either been dropped from the program, been place on a waiting list or are unable to enroll due to lowered eligibility is at least 7,415. The breakdown is as follows:

  • 6,689 on waiting lists (as reported by NASTAD)
  • 445 people dropped (also reported by NASTAD)
  • 281 people unable to enroll because of lowered eligibility (This figure is likely higher because AHF’s estimate is based on enrollment figures from FY2009, the most recent full-year data available.)

“It is important to make this message clear to Gilead employees, as hard-hit government-funded programs like ADAP bear the brunt of Gilead’s greed,” said Eileen Garcia, Community Outreach Manager for AHF and one of the protest’s leaders. “Atripla is one of Gilead’s top selling AIDS drugs, and as such accounts for over 20% of ADAP expenditures and brings in millions in revenue for the company. Today, the cost of this single drug is over $10,000 per year, and ADAP simply cannot afford to pay for this as well as other AIDS drugs without price relief. Given that Atripla is sold ‘at cost’ for $600 per year in developing countries, Gilead could lower its price significantly, while continuing to make a large profit, yet it has not done so.”

Background on ADAP

With state budgets stretched thin and increasing numbers of unemployed workers without health insurance, many states have been forced to cap enrollment in their AIDS Drug Assistance Programs. Currently, there are nearly 6,689 individuals on waiting lists to receive lifesaving AIDS medications in twelve states. Hundreds of patients in need are being added to the waiting list each week. In addition, thousands more Americans living with HIV/AIDS have been dropped from the program or made ineligible to receive medications through ADAP due to stricter eligibility requirements.

Nationwide, ADAPs serve over 165,000 people, accounting for one third of people on AIDS treatment in the U.S. Unfortunately, the need for these programs expands every year, as more and more people become infected and diagnosed with HIV/AIDS; each year thousands of newly diagnosed HIV patients turn to ADAPs because they cannot afford their medicines.

“The nation’s network of AIDS Drug Assistance Programs face desperate circumstances due to the high prices of drugs like Gilead’s Atripla. AHF is willing to work in partnership with Gilead toward solutions for ADAP and to create and foster dialogue with the community. However, as long as companies like Gilead continue to pursue pricing policies that conflict with the greater good, as well as the health and well-being of the public, we will not stop asking for change,” said Dale Gluth, AHF’s Associate Regional Director, Bay Area.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and services to more than 153,000 individuals in 26 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific region and Eastern Europe. www.aidshealth.org



CONTACT:

AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Christina McEwen
Communications & Mktg Coordinator
323-308-1832, 714-457-6185
[email protected]
or
Eileen Garcia
Community Outreach Manager
213-405-5838
[email protected]
or
Dale R. Gluth
Associate Regional Director, Bay Area
415-218-9587
[email protected]

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  California

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Health  AIDS  Pharmaceutical  Philanthropy  Foundation

MEDIA:

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