AIDS Healthcare Foundation Keeps Up Pressure in Protests Against Merck's HIV Pricing
April 8, 2010
In an ongoing campaign to pressure Merck & Co. over its pricing and policies for the HIV drug Isentress (raltegravir), the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) held a protest March 24 at the Loews Hotel in Miami Beach during the Barclays Capital Global Healthcare Conference.
"Now that it has been approved for first-line treatment, there is no justification for Merck to price Isentress three times higher than other first-line AIDS drugs," said Michael Weinstein, AHF's president and a leading voice of the campaign.
Weinstein contends the pricing is greatly stressing state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP). "The limited funding available for these programs is being exhausted by the high cost of Isentress and other newer AIDS drugs," Weinstein said. "Several states are now unable to provide treatment to additional people who need it. We want Merck to do the right thing and immediately lower the price of Isentress."
"We're here to let people know that Merck is causing great harm to people with HIV/AIDS with its unwarranted pricing of Isentress," said Jessica Gruttaudaria, AHF's public affairs director. "Programs like ADAP are feeling the impact right now and lives are being put at risk because of excessive drug pricing. Merck should lower the price of Isentress immediately."
South Florida Gay News (Wilton Manors, Fla.)
04.05.2010; Richard Gary