March 28, 2013
The US Congress has passed legislation that caps FY2013 AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) funding, prompting the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) to urge Gilead Sciences and other AIDS drug makers to lower ADAP HIV drug costs. AHF President Michael Weinstein asserted that pharmaceutical companies have used ADAP funding increases to launch "overpriced" new HIV medications and to give "million-dollar bonuses" to chief executive officers (CEOs).
Tim Boyd, AHF's director of domestic policy, stated that Gilead CEO John Martin's salary topped $54 million while 10,000 HIV-infected people were on ADAP waiting lists, and Gilead now plans to increase Martin's pay to $90 million. The congressional funding cap means ADAP will not be able to provide treatment to 8,000 HIV-infected people on waiting lists across the country.
The cap halts years of increased congressional funding to keep pace with the rising cost of HIV drugs and longer ADAP waiting lists. In 2011 alone, Congress added $48 million to ADAP funding and supplemented ADAP with $30 million in "emergency funding" to provide HIV medications to ADAP wait-listed patients. The National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors reported that ADAP spending for HIV drugs has increased by 806 percent since 1996; the number of ADAP clients rose by only 341 percent in the same time period. AHF estimated that the average price of new HIV/AIDS drugs went up by 70 percent since 2000.