Officials, Advocates Call for Bristol-Myers Squibb To Cut HIV Drug Prices
State officials and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation are urging Bristol-Myers Squibb to reduce the price of its HIV/AIDS medication Reyataz in California, Payers & Providers reports (Payers & Providers, 7/29).
Earlier this month, Controller John Chiang (D) sent a letter askingÂ BMS to join other pharmaceutical companies that have already reduced the cost of their drugs.
CalPERS and the California State Teachers' Retirement System, which have investments in BMS, also sent letters asking the company to cut the price of Reyataz (Calvan/Reese, Sacramento Bee, 7/29).
In addition, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation bannedÂ BMS sales representatives from its clinics until the firm reduces the price of its antiretroviral drug (Payers & Providers, 7/29).
Effect of Drug Costs on State Budget
California's AIDS Drug Assistance Program helps low-income Californians purchase HIV/AIDS drugs. Over the last 10 years, the number of residents receiving assistance through the program rose 60% to 38,033. During the same time frame, the amount that the program spent on HIV/AIDS drugs rose about 200% to $431 million.
During the last fiscal year, California's AIDS Drug Assistance Program dispensed 69,709 prescriptions of Reyataz. The drug is one of the most expensive HIV/AIDS treatments, with an average wholesale price of $13,046 annually.
About two-thirds of the funding for California's AIDS Drug Assistance Program comes from the federal government or from drug company rebates, with the state covering the remainder of the program's costs.
Representatives of BMS declined to say whether the company planned to reduce the costs of its drugs.
However, they said the firm already provides several assistance programs and does not intend to turn its back on patients with HIV/AIDS (Sacramento Bee, 7/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.