April 20, 2010

April 20, 2010
A Letter to the Pharmaceutical Companies

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Tuesday and another cloudy day here in south Florida. While we normally have hot and sunny skies, we have been having rain and clouds for several days now.

But considering all the problems due to the volcano in Iceland, I guess we really have nothing to complain about since there are so many people stranded around Europe. In fact, the volcano has now messed up air traffic around the world. Some people have been waiting a week to get where they are supposed to be. So I guess I can put up with some clouds and rain. Hopefully, the huge cloud of ash over Europe will clear soon and allow for normal air travel.

Yesterday, I featured a letter to President Obama we signed on to as a project. Today, I would like to feature a letter to the pharmaceutical companies that Dab the AIDS Bear signed on to recently.


The Fair Pricing Coalition, in conjunction with undersigned members and organizations of the HIV community, call upon the manufacturers of HIV antiretrovirals and other medications used by people living with HIV/AIDS to provide immediate relief to AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) and to work in partnership with HIV advocates to ensure that additional federal and state funding also flows to ADAPs.

The ADAP crisis is rapidly expanding. These critical safety net programs are at the center of a perfect storm brought on by the economic meltdown, federal and state budget shortfalls, and continuing escalation of drug prices.

The number of new people who rely on ADAPs for their medications each month grew an unprecedented 80% from June 2008 to June 2009. States with waiting lists have grown from 3 to 10 in one year, and clients on those lists increased by 58% in the last quarter alone. Numerous additional states are being forced to plan for imminent implementation of waiting lists, formulary reductions and eligibility cuts.

To meet the needs of over 166,000 individuals living with HIV and receiving ADAP services, and tens of thousands more whose lives will depend on ADAP access in years to come, ADAPs, state and federal governments, and industry partners must all work together to solve this crisis.

The Fair Pricing Coalition and the HIV community are currently addressing budget issues with federal and state officials and are calling on pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide a financial bridge for ADAPs, particularly until the healthcare reform law is fully implemented.

ADAP survival requires that drug manufacturers hold ADAPs harmless against rising drug prices. We call upon manufacturers of HIV antiretroviral and other related drug manufacturers to implement a multiyear cost protection and rebate enhancement program for ADAPs which will allow all increased revenues to go toward eliminating waiting lists, providing medications to new clients, and maintaining formularies.

Although manufacturers provide Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) for individuals without government or private health insurance coverage, the confusing patchwork of eligibility and recertification criteria creates barriers to access. We call upon the companies to create a standardized PAP application and to provide automatic PAP enrollment to individuals on any state's ADAP waiting list who have already been certified ADAP eligible by that state.

Industry must work diligently and in good faith with the ADAP Crisis Task Force during the May 2010 meetings to forge agreements that assure full access to life saving medications for all people living with HIV/AIDS.

The letter was signed by over 100 organizations including us. But you can help by contacting the different pharmaceutical companies and reading the same.

I hope the rest of your week is a safe and great one. Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab