State ADAPs, NASTAD Negotiate Antiretroviral Price Freezes, Rebates With Gilead, Abbott, Merck
State AIDS Drug Assistance Programs that provide antiretroviral drugs to HIV/AIDS patients who cannot afford the medications have reached agreements with Gilead Sciences, Abbott Laboratories and Merck to freeze prices and provide rebates on the companies' antiretroviral drugs, according to a National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors release (NASTAD release, 4/23). The meetings, which began last month, brought together ADAP representatives from California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Texas -- states that collectively account for 75% of the more than $850 million in annual ADAP drug expenditures -- with representatives from Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Pfizer, Abbott Laboratories, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Gilead Sciences and Bristol-Myers Squibb to discuss ways of "alleviat[ing] the crisis" that state ADAPs are currently facing. Funding shortfalls have caused 13 state ADAPs -- which are state-managed, federally funded programs that offer antiretroviral drugs to low-income people who lack health insurance -- to create waiting lists or tighten eligibility requirements, and several other programs anticipate having to do the same. While ADAPs have traditionally managed without assistance in price negotiations with drug companies, officials wanted to bring the groups together in hopes of securing price concessions for all antiretroviral drugs, not just for new drugs, which previous negotiations have focused on. The ADAPs last month came to an agreement with Roche over pricing for its new AIDS drug Fuzeon, which costs about $20,000 per year per patient (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/31). Savings secured from agreements with Gilead, Abbott, Merck and Roche are expected to total $25 million annually. Negotiations are still ongoing with Pfizer/Agouron, GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Boehringer Ingelheim, and the ADAPs hope to reach further agreements by the end of this month. "We remain hopeful that significant agreements can be completed with the remaining manufacturers," NASTAD Executive Director Julie Scofield said, adding, "They account for over half the expenditures and need to be a part of the response to the crisis we face" (NASTAD release, 4/23).
This year's National AIDS Drug Assistance Program Monitoring Report will be released during a conference call briefing Wednesday, April 30th at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time. Reporters, policymakers, advocates and others interested in ADAPs are invited to participate in the briefing. More information is available online at http://www.kff.org/content/2003/20030430a/.