California Controller Asks Drug Companies For Lower Cost AIDS Medication

SACRAMENTO (KCBS)- California’s State Controller John Chiang sent a letter to eight pharmaceutical companies that make medication for AIDS patients this week. Now that supplemental agreements with several drug companies are set to expire this year and beyond, pressure is on California’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) to ensure patients’ care isn’t disrupted.

Jacob Roper with Controller’s office said Chiang has urged for additional price concessions from the drug companies.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

“The way the budget cuts are coming down is going to be rough. We’re asking anything they can do for help,” said Roper.

Price concessions would allow the program to fund drugs for the same amount of people, but with less money. Without discounts, Gilead’s, a Foster City based drug maker, considered to be a leader in HIV treatment, drug would cost $21,000 per year.

“As funding for the program goes down and the price of pharmaceuticals goes up, that means the fewer people the state can serve,” said Roper.

In a written statement, Gilead said it is concerned and committed to patient access and added that their company has reached out to the controller’s office to arrange a future meeting.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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