BMS to join ranks of AIDS drug companies to offer price concessions

February 09, 2016

According to an annual industry report issued by the National AIDS State and Territorial Directors (NASTAD) in early May 2010, "Drug spending by ADAPs has increased more than seven-fold (617%) since 1996, more than twice the rate of client growth over this same period." An AHF analysis of NASTAD's report also showed that since 2000, ADAP spending on lifesaving antiretroviral medications (ARVs) has increased 120%, but the number of clients served by ADAP has only increased 80%.

In his letter to BMS' CEO Lamberto Andreotti dated July 9, 2010, Controller Chiang states:

California's AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), like ADAPs across the nation, is in jeopardy as California's budget continues to suffer the ravages of the recent recession. As available state general fund dollars continue to shrink, demand on the program has grown faster than normal (another byproduct of the recession) and the cost of drugs has been increasing.

This is an unsustainable situation. California has no interest in depriving people with HIV/AIDS of drugs that keep them alive, so the only available recourse is to rein in the growing drugs costs. On balance, it seems that all parties should do their part to ease the pain this recession has inflicted on ADAP.

In order to help alleviate the crisis, other major AIDS drug manufacturers have agreed to significant reductions in the pricing of their lifesaving AIDS medications to ADAPs, including Merck and Company, Johnson & Johnson's Tibotec Therapeutics, Gilead Sciences Inc., Viiv Healthcare and Abbott Labs. But not BMS. Meanwhile, twelve states have instituted waiting lists. And the number of people waiting to access medicines continues to balloon. In Florida, the waiting list is increasing at a rate of 250 to 300 people per month.

Adds Chiang: "Ultimately, modest changes from drug companies are all that is needed to help ensure ADAPs can continue to serve the people who need them. It is time for BMS to step up and join the other pharmaceutical companies that have found ways to reduce the cost of drugs to California and its ADAP program."

SOURCE AIDS Healthcare Foundation