The AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) Crisis continues. In fact, it is getting worse.
As of March 31, the waiting list for ADAP has increased to 7,745 people in 11 states. (The number was 5,100 in 10 states when we first began reporting about the ADAP Crisis in January.) That means right at this moment, there are close to 8,000 HIV+ individuals waiting for financial assistance to pay for their HIV medications. They are being denied coverage for their life-saving medications due to budget cuts on the federal and state levels. They are now at an even greater risk of seeing a drastic decline in their health while they wait for their medications.
That's part 1 of the bad news. Part 2 is more disheartening. It seems that one pharmaceutical company (Pharma) has responded to the crisis ... by raising the prices of their HIV/AIDS medications! Clearly they have a different definition of crisis.
Gilead Sciences made the decision to raise the prices of their top HIV medications. The cost of Atripla went up by 5.1 percent. Truvada and Emtirva went up by 7.9 percent. All of these medications also experienced increases within the last two years.
Just a few months ago, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) called for the top pharmaceutical companies (including Gilead) to decrease the prices of their medications to assist with the ADAP crisis. The goal was to inspire Pharma to assist in the crisis by helping ease the financial burden off state and federal funds.
Clearly Gilead did not read the letter.
If thousands of HIV+ individuals are unable to pay for their medications now without government financial assistance, surely they won't be able to pay with the increase in prices. This is such a ludicrous move. Our health care system is already stretched beyond recognition and continues to face burdens and challenges. So what does Pharma do? Raise prices of already insanely expensive medications, thereby further straining state and federal government funding and our healthcare system.
Please forgive my sarcasm and cynicism. Actions such as these are so unreasonable on so many levels. People are dying from HIV/AIDS needlessly because they are unable to afford their medications. HIV can be treated with medications and people can live long lives -- if they have access to the medications. ADAP provides financial assistance. Now that is being cut. Pharma could decide to put its bottom line aside for a while and assist in this crisis. Yet they respond by increasing prices. This is greedy, outrageous and purely inhumane.
Perhaps a petition will help. Please join us in telling Gilead that raising prices on their HIV/AIDS medications is outright wrong. Urge them to look beyond profit and see the vulnerable people they are hurting by making their already expensive medications completely unobtainable.
As you may be well aware, there is an ADAP Crisis in America. ADAP, or AIDS Drug Assistance Program, is a vital program that assists HIV-positive individuals with paying for the incredibly expensive medications needed to treat and manage this devastating disease. Without these essential medications, a person’s HIV disease is more likely to progress and become life-threatening. ADAP funding is being slashed in most states across the country.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) recently wrote to you (and other top pharmaceutical companies) to decrease the prices of your HIV medications to assist with the ADAP crisis. We agree with this statement and are writing you to urge you to lower the costs of these medications now, not raise them as you recently did.
We need low cost HIV medications for all HIV+ Americans. Our health care system is already over-burdened. State and federal funding is being cut to ADAP. With increased medication costs, more HIV+ patients will be unable to afford their life-saving medications.
We urge Gilead to make a statement about the ADAP Crisis. We urge Gilead to pledge to working with all stakeholders involved to combat this crisis.
Thank you for your time.