Drug Access State AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, NASTAD Negotiate Lower
Price for Fuzeon With Roche
Mar 31, 2003, source: http://www.kaisernetwork.org
State AIDS Drug Assistance Programs that provide antiretroviral drugs
to HIV/AIDS patients who cannot afford the medications have negotiated a
"deeper discount" with pharmaceutical company Roche for its new drug Fuzeon,
the Raleigh News & Observer reports (Ranii, Raleigh News & Observer, 3/29).
The National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, which also
participated in the "first-of-their-kind" negotiations with eight major
antiretroviral drug manufacturers, said that the negotiations had "mixed
results." The meetings, which concluded on March 21, brought together ADAP
representatives from California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey
, New York, North Carolina and Texas -- states that collectively account for
70% 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
Funding shortfalls have caused thirteen 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 (NASTAD release, 3/27). 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 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/28).
Roche was the only company to come to a "satisfactory agreement" with the
ADAPs, according to NASTAD (NASTAD release, 3/27). However, the size of the
discount was not disclosed (Raleigh News & Observer, 3/29). Roche earlier
this month announced that Fuzeon would cost approximately $20,000 a year,
more than twice the price of the most expensive AIDS drugs on the market.
While some have said that the cost will be prohibitive, the company has
announced a "Progressive Distribution Program," which includes reimbursement
assistance programs for patients who will not be able to afford the
medication (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/21).
"Roche stepped up to the plate to help us ensure that ADAP patients will have
access to needed HIV therapies. ... Roche has proven to be a critical partner
at the most difficult economic time our programs have faced," Michael
Montgomery, chief of the California Office of AIDS, said.
Other Drug Companies To Continue Negotiations
Five other drug companies have decided to continue negotiations, which are
expected to conclude by late next month. "We look forward to the conclusion
of the ongoing negotiations as soon as possible. We intend to continue to
seek national approaches and solutions on behalf of all ADAPs and hope that
the other companies will be more responsive to the needs of ADAPs and the
populations we serve in the very near future," Jean McGuire of the
Massachusetts ADAP, said (NASTAD release, 3/27).