AIDS Action Council Vehemently Opposes Repeal of Vital Drug Pricing Program
Conferees vote today on repeal provision as part of supplemental funding bill
May 20, 1997
Contact: José Zuniga
(202) 986-1300, Ext. 3042
"This is an emergency funding bill. We have been hoping to add emergency funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program to this measure. Instead, we find ourselves fighting a provision to repeal a law (Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act) which might expand access to life-prolonging drugs for people with HIV/AIDS. There have been no hearings on this repeal, no committee vote. Most legislators have no idea this provision exists," said Christine Lubinski, AIDS Action Council's deputy executive director. "ADAPs are already in budget crisis nationwide, with some states limiting their drug formularies or threatening to deny coverage for some people. Why would we repeal a law that might actually help?"
Lubinski explained that in fiscal year 1997, the ADAP program required an infusion of $112 million provided through an appropriation request advocated for by AIDS Action Council, moved by the GOP congressional leadership, and supported by the Clinton administration. State ADAPs face a $132 million shortfall in fiscal year 1998, which has resulted in severe state ADAP crises. The Mississippi ADAP will soon be forced to cut 640 people living with HIV and AIDS -- 80 percent of their clients - from the program, because of the state's budget shortfall.
Under FASA, ADAPs nationwide would be able to purchase prohibitively expensive AIDS drug therapies at up to 40 percent discounts, thus allowing many people living with HIV and AIDS to access these promising treatments. One example of the savings would be found in the purchase of the protease inhibitor drug Crixivan. The average wholesale price of Crixivan 200MGx270 is $337.50. Under FASA, state ADAPs can purchase Crixivan for $201.15, a 40 percent savings.
"We urge the conferees to strike this provision and to remember that this is an emergency spending bill. Protecting the pharmaceutical companies' profits is not an emergency," Lubinski said. "Getting people with HIV and AIDS access to drugs that may save their lives is."
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AIDS Action Council is the nation's foremost AIDS advocacy organization, representing all Americans affected by HIV and AIDS, and over 1,400 community-based organizations that serve them.
Daniel Zingale's Statement to the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies House Committee on Appropriations
This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.