On the 22nd of October, Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF) showed up outside the offices of PHARMA to protest efforts by brand-name drugmakers and those Congresscritters to kill off the 340B program that provides reduced-price drug access to programs serving the poor. Some of the protesters wore pig noses symboilizing Pharma’s greed. Pharma is the pharmaceutical industry lobby known or such things as injecting drug patent extension language into trade deals like the TPP. Now they are being hammered for trying to deny people who are not wealthy access to drugs treating diseases like HIV. Gilead was singled out for charging $28,500 a year for HIV treatment Stribild.
The latest fashion in Big Pharma is even worse than overpriced HIV drugs, it is the new wave of $100,000 a year treatments for things like hepatitis C that place even health insurers and Medicaid programs at risk of bankruptcy if they do not refuse coverage.
For years, the big Pharmas have cited programs like 304B as excuses for their obscene drug prices and patent-protected profits. They spend many times more on TV ads alone than research, then claim they need the high prices and long patent periods to pay the laboratory bills. When people say the drugs are unaffordable, they say “you may be able to get help if you cannot afford your medication.” Now they are trying to defund these programs.