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Cost for HIV Treatment
Jan 31, 2012

Dear Doctor:

If you are HIV+ you probably pay around $21,000 a year for prescription drugs. Especially if it's a one a day pill like Atripla which is becoming the drug of choice for most patients. I should point out that this drug is available in a generic form a fraction of the cost. For example, in India, one can purchase a generic form of Atripla called Viraday for about $150.00. That means someone in the US will pay on average about 1200 percent more for a comparable drug. I want to point out that I have tried Viraday and found it to be just as effective in keeping the virus at bay. Based on my comments I have two questions.

Why is HIV treatment so expensive after 25 years of discovering the disease?

Do you think that there is less of a focus from the medical profession to find a cure for HIV given the fact the HIV treatment is a multi-billion dollar for pharmaceutical companies and the healthcare industry? A cure could potentially result is billions of dollars in lost profits and thousands of job losses for those who specialize in HIV care. I would love to hear your opinion and thank you for taking the time to review my question.

Response from Mr. Chambers

Thank you for your input. I'm not a doctor so I'm not equipped to answer your questions about what drugs are equivalents of US drugs, and I certainly am not comfortable touting or condemning the practice of buying medications out of the country.

However, this is an excellent chance to say that I believe more than just drug prices are out of whack in this country. The US, for all its wonderful progress in medicine, has probably the most expensive and unfair health coverage anywhere, definitely worse than other industrialized countries. Costs are much too high, too many people don't have access to care, much less quality care. It remains to be seen how well the Affordable Care Act will control costs, although, if enacted as passed, it should certainly make healthcare available to millions more.



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