My 2010 AIDS Drug Bill = $13K
Over the weekend, the post office delivered my June explanation of benefits from the Medicare subsidiary program I belong to, and the amount paid by the program for my AIDS and other meds, so far for 2010, was $13,222.41.
Quite an impressive figure, I think, and one that helps explain the crisis for people with AIDS in too many U.S. states with waiting lists for AIDS cocktails.
Because I qualify for federal and California public insurance plans, I am privileged to have a steady flow of drugs to prevent opportunistic infections, boost my immune system, lower my HIV viral load, and help keep me alive. But more than 2,000 PWAs in thirteen states aren't so privileged. They are on AIDS Drug Assistance Program waiting lists, which means they're not getting the medicines they need without interruption.
The sky-high price of AIDS drugs has always bothered me, for several reasons, starting with the fact that American taxpayer dollars fund much if not all of the initial research into existing drugs and others in the pipeline, yet Big Pharma is allowed to charge outrageous prices for the drugs, which are bankrupting many state-funded ADAPs.
How about attaching more strings to the initial drug development and research government money, so that private companies can't profiteer off the drugs?
I've never understood why AIDS Inc and their friends in Congress have not legislated affordable prices for U.S. government-developed AIDS treatments, when the patents are awarded to a drug company. If AIDS orgs and politicians such as Nancy Pelosi want to honestly address the waiting lists with a permanent solution, instead of continually fighting stop-gap funding measures to solve ADAP crises, they'll find creative solutions that lower the cost of the drugs.
By the end of 2010, I expect my total government subsidized drug benefits' costs to come to $27,000 for the year. That figure could be lowered, if AIDS Inc and politicians pressured Big Pharma to lower prices of all drugs, which would extend and save the lives of PWAs and others.
Amen, Michael. And it sounds like we'll have a similar price tag for our meds by the end of the year. Just imagine how many warheads could be purchased with the money our government is spending to keep the likes of you and me alive!
Mark S. King
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