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The Cost of HAART.....

Aug 17, 2002

Hi I have 2 questions that are very important and very hard to figure out on my own. #1--What is an average cost of three HAART drugs in a month? Lets take for example combivir (retrovir +epivir) and sustiva. My estimate is somewhere between 900-1200 a month for these three drugs; am I correct? I realize drugs costs vary form place to place also, which is why i'm asking for a "mean" defintion of prices. #2--For People who cannot afford the therapy, what hope is there, do you know?

thanks guys

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your questions.

The cost of a first-line HAART is, roughly speaking, between $1000-2000 per month. Many factors go into the actual cost to the individual-- insurance coverage, governmental assistance programs (ADAP), pharmaceutical company patient-assistance programs. In some settings, drug clinical trials can be an effective way to bring medications to communities.

As for those who cannot afford medications, the answer depends on geography. In the US, I believe that there is little reason why someone with HIV infection should not have access to care and medications; if there is a problem here, I'd advise the person to seek counsel from a local service agency. Outside of the US, the issue becomes dramatically more complex; but best summarized by the new president of the International AIDS Society, Joop Lange, who stated (paraphrasing): "if we can get cold beer and soda to every corner of Africa, there is no reason why we cannot bring effective HIV medications too". Yes, there are daunting hurdles-- we need to continue to pressure agencies and politicos for an urgent solution. -BY

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