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National News

States Join Together to Press for Discounts on AIDS Drugs

February 28, 2003

Six states with the largest AIDS Drug Assistance Programs will press for price concessions on AIDS treatments when they meet with drug makers in Washington March 17. The state officials plan to pressure the drug manufacturers for additional rebates for all 56 ADAPs in the United States and its territories. In the past, each state ADAP has, for the most part, fended for itself in talks with drug companies. But now the programs want to bring unity and clout to the discussions, hoping that manufacturers will cut prices if several states say they cannot afford a drug. The new initiative is focused on all AIDS drugs, not just new ones.

"We feel it's important that we talk to the drug companies directly," said Michael Montgomery, chief of the California Office of AIDS. Officials from New York, Texas, Florida, Illinois and New Jersey are also expected to attend. Companies invited to the meeting include Roche, GlaxoSmithKline PLC, Merck & Co., Pfizer Inc., Abbott Laboratories Inc. and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. States plan to meet with the companies individually to avoid antitrust issues.

States have become increasingly aggressive in trying to control drug costs. Some demand steep Medicaid drug discounts in exchange for putting medicines on their preferred-drug lists. Michigan and Vermont recently announced the first joint effort to extract discounts on Medicaid drugs. But states face legal challenges from drug makers, who argue that some cost-containment strategies are illegal.

Several manufacturers last year agreed to freeze the prices charged to ADAPs, but the programs are still beset by budget woes and some have restricted patient eligibility. Nearly 700 people in a dozen states are on ADAP waiting lists. Part of ADAPs' problem is the success of the drugs: The treatments are prolonging lives, meaning more people are on the programs longer. ADAPs serve about 80,000 clients, nearly 30 percent of the U.S. market for AIDS drugs.

Back to other CDC news for February 28, 2003

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Adapted from:
Wall Street Journal
02.28.03; Laurie McGinley



  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 

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