August 17, 2012
Fourteen Democratic members of Congress have written Gilead Sciences to ask that the company reasonably price its yet-to-be-approved AIDS drug "Quad". The once-a-day first-line AIDS treatment, which contains four medications, was recommended for approval by a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel. The congressional representatives fear that Gilead may charge as much as $34,000 per patient per year for Quad, which could further strain state AIDS funding programs.
Although Gilead froze prices through 2013 for drugs provided to AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs), the company increased prices in the commercial market, raising costs for privately insured patients and those on Medicare.
According to the letter, "As a result, Ryan White Part B programs that help these patients afford their co-pays and deductibles now face overwhelming demand and instituted waiting lists. Given that Ryan White Part B funds both the co-pays and deductibles of privately insured patients as well as ADAP, price increases for antiretroviral drugs in the commercial market diminish the ability of ADAPs to purchase drugs and sustain their case loads."
The representatives added, "We urge Gilead to consider sustainable pricing strategies for its products that would help allow ADAP to provide treatment to as many individuals as possible." As of August 9, 1,125 individuals were on ADAP waiting lists in seven states, according to the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein praised the action to control Quad's pricing and said, "In the long run, the cost to Gilead to actually produce the Quad will be a small fraction of its selling price, which means Gilead can show restraint on Quad pricing and still make an enormous profit."