Ed Silverman, On The State Of California’s “Moral Suasion” & Merck’s AIDS Drug Pricing

Pharmalot has a terrific piece out on the relatively high price of all AIDS drugs, inculing Merck’s Isentress® — and the accelerating efforts in California to make the durgs more affordable for people of limited means — do go read it all (very solid stuff):

. . . .California State Controller John Chiang sent a letter to. . . . Merck [and nine other AIDS drugmakers]. . . .

In each case, Chiang wrote that California’s ADAP program has experienced a 257 percent increase in AIDS drug spending since 2000, more than three times the rate of client growth over this same period. The state is “faced with either racheting down access to ADAP or cutting other vital health services to offset the cost of ADAP,” he wrote the drugmakers, adding that supplemental agreements with several drugmakers expire this year, contributing to the financial pressures on the states.

“These increases not only put an undue burden on people seeking treatment, but place an unsustainable burden on states. California cannot afford to increase the budget for ADAP indefinitely in order to pay for higher drug prices. Nor can the state be put in the position of denying other essential health services in order to pay increasing drug costs. . . .

Indeed — this is an important issue — one which will garner increasing attention, as state health care budgets continue to constrict. Do stay tuned.


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