AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today criticized HIV/AIDS drug maker Gilead Sciences Inc. for pulling funding support from the organization’s global programs in response to AHF’s advocacy efforts.
For the past year AHF has spearheaded public advocacy campaigns challenging Gilead on its drug pricing policies, as well as the company’s push for approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a new use for its HIV/AIDS treatment drug Truvada, as an HIV “prevention” pill—or pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
Despite Gilead’s history of consistent—and progressively increasing—funding support for AHF’s global programs, the nonprofit was told by a company representative recently that it will not be receiving Gilead funding support this year.
Gilead has been contributing funds in support of AHF’s global HIV/AIDS treatment, testing and prevention programs every year since 2005.
Funding has progressively increased in amount and scope, as Gilead began supporting programs in Africa and then expanded to include Asia, Latin America/Caribbean and Eastern Europe
“It is unfortunate that Gilead—once a model of what an HIV/AIDS drug company could be in terms of working cooperatively with advocates in the community—has chosen to retaliate against AHF for being critical of its most recent policies and pursuits,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
“AHF’s mission to provide cutting-edge medicine regardless of ability to pay compels us to advocate for responsible HIV/AIDS policies and to increase the accessibility of lifesaving HIV/AIDS treatment for those most in need by urging lower drug prices.
What a shame that Gilead has chosen to punish us for these efforts by pulling funding from programs in the developing world that save lives.”
This past year, AHF has stepped up its campaign targeting Gilead on its drug pricing policies, staging numerous protests to raise awareness that high drug prices, such as Gilead’s, are a key reason for the existence of state AIDS Drug Assistance Program waiting lists. AHF recently cautioned the company to price its latest drug combination—known as the “Quad” and set to hit the market later this year—reasonably.
More information about the campaign is available here. In addition, AHF has been the company’s most outspoken critic when it comes to its pursuit of FDA approval for a new use for its treatment drug, Truvada, as an HIV “prevention” pill or pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
Efforts have included a massive public awareness campaign, as well as a major presence at last month’s FDA Advisory Committee Hearing on PrEP in which numerous AHF-affiliated individuals presented testimony advising against approval.
More information about the campaign can be found at www.nomagicpills.org.