January 12, 2012
In a move effective Jan. 1, Merck & Co. cut the price it charges state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs for its HIV medication Isentress. The company did not disclose the amount of the reduction, which will remain in effect through the end of 2013. Five other drugmakers -- Johnson & Johnson; Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.; Gilead Sciences Inc.; Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH; and ViiV Healthcare, a venture between Pfizer Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline Plc -- had previously announced enhanced discounts for ADAPs, said Murray Penner, deputy executive director of the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors. "With the economy the way it is, there are many more people without jobs and many more people who are qualifying for the programs," Penner said. "The need has ballooned." The latest NASTAD statistics show that as of Jan. 5, 4,606 people were on ADAP waiting lists in 12 states.