In response to the funding crisis facing state programs that provide AIDS and HIV drugs to the public, several drugmakers have agreed to extend voluntary discounts, rebates and prices freezes available to all state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs through December 31, 2014, according to the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors.
The drugmakers that reached agreement are AbbVie (ABBV), Gilead Sciences (GILD), Merck (MRK) and ViiV Healthcare, which is a joint venture between Pfizer (PFE) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The specifics were not disclosed, but the value of all agreements for 2012 was $240 million, according to NASTAD, which added that negotiations are still being held with other companies for extensions.
The move is the second piece of good news in recent months for the state programs, which provide AIDS and HIV drugs to the public, but have been grappling with funding shortages over the past few years. Several weeks ago, the Obama administration restored $35 million in federal funding for HIV medications that was briefly cut from a spending bill (back story).
Currently, the federal government provides about $886 million in funding to ADAP programs, state governments contribute approximately $275 million and the pharmaceutical industry contributes the equivalent of another $735 million in the form of rebates, according to Murray Penner, deputy executive diriector at NASTAD. Earlier rounds of rebates, discounts and price freezes have previously made a difference for the state programs (see this).
The agreement comes as ADAPs appear to have rebounded from the recession, in part due to additional funding that President Barack Obama previously committed in response to growing wait lists. In May 2011, there were 8,100 people on ADAP waiting lists in 13 states, which was a 706 percent increase from the same time a year earlier. Now, there are just 31 people are on waiting lists in three states (see the latest here).
Just the same, there is ongoing uncertainty about the wherewithal of the state programs and changes in drug utilization thanks to the Affordable Care Act. State ADAP programs remain leery about their ability to meet demand depending upon coverage options that people are encounter.
“In order to continue our forward progress in ensuring that people living with HIV/AIDS achieve viral suppression and thus reduce new transmissions, we must continue to ensure access to HIV medications, particularly while the Affordable Care Act is implemented,” Julie Scofield, the NASTAD executive director says in a statement.
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