Calif. official: Lower AIDS drug prices

California State Controller John Chiang is pushing forward aggressively with a campaign to get drugmakers to lower the price of the AIDS medication Atripla, according to a report by Ed Silverman on Pharmalot. Silverman reports that Chiang sent letters to nine drugmakers asking them to lower their prices and to extend an agreement reached last year to relieve some financial pressure on AIDS Drug Assistance Programs.

Chiang said that spending for ADAP in California has risen by 257 percent since 2000, which is over three times the rate of client growth, Silverman reports.

"These increases not only put an undue burden on people seeking treatment, but place an unsustainable burden on states," Silverman quotes Chiang as writing. "California cannot afford to increase the budget for ADAP indefinitely in order to pay for higher drug prices. Nor can the state be put in the position of denying other essential health services in order to pay increasing drug costs."

Chiang also points out that he is a board member of two public pension funds that are also "substantial shareholders" in the drugmakers.

- read Silverman's report on Pharmalot