A small group of committed AIDS activists and advocates spearheaded by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) will protest the Bay Area's own Gilead Sciences over its pricing and policies on its HIV/AIDS medications. The protest will be held in front of the San Francisco Federal Building (90 7th Street, SF 94103) in light of the severe crisis facing the nation's AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), a network of federal and state funded programs that provide life-saving HIV treatments to low income, uninsured, and underinsured individuals living with HIV/AIDS nationwide. The advocates will chant 'Gilead, do the right thing!' as federal workers arrive at the building in order to spotlight the steep prices that government programs are paying for Gilead's blockbuster HIV/AIDS drug, Atripla (efavirenz & tenofovir & emtricitabine)—currently $10,000 per patient, per year for ADAP.
“Our intention with actions like this protest in the Bay Area targeting Gilead over its AIDS drug pricing and policies is to encourage Gilead to reflect on its own remarkable mission and history as a very different sort of drug company”
As of June 30th over 8,600 low-income AIDS patients in 13 states have been placed on waiting lists to access lifesaving HIV/AIDS medications through the nation's network of ADAPs. However, in a particularly Dickensian move, several states have also recently capped further enrollment in their ADAPs or are sharply reducing eligibility for their programs based on a percentage of Federal Poverty Level (FPL) income (in some cases cutting the FPL-eligible income from 400% to 200%), effectively denying needy patients access to medications, yet because enrollment is officially capped—or eligibility eliminated—these additional patients are never formally added to the states' ADAP waiting list rosters.
"Atripla, Gilead's top selling AIDS drug, accounts for over 20% of ADAP expenditures, generating millions in revenue for the company. However, at a cost of over $10,000 per year, ADAP can no longer afford to pay for this and other Gilead drugs without price relief," said Adam Ouderkirk, Bay Area Regional Director for AHF and a leader of the protest. "Given that Atripla is sold 'at cost' for $600 per year in developing countries, Gilead could lower the price significantly and still make a huge profit, yet it has not. We feel it is important to bring this message home to federal employees, as hard-hit government-funded programs like ADAP bear the brunt of Gilead's greed."