A New HIV Drug, And Things You Learn If You Google ‘How to Pay for HIV Drugs’

• The FDA has approved a third once-a-day HIV treatment drug, reports the NYT.

• Stribild will cost $28,500 per year.

• It joins Aptripla and Complera, which have been on the market since 2011 and 2006, respectively.

• All three drugs have been released by Gilead Sciences.

• “Stribild, which was previously known as the Quad, does not appear to represent a huge leap medically.” (NYT)

• “But Stribild could be important commercially for Gilead because the company owns all the ingredients. By contrast, Atripla contains a drug from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Complera contains a drug from Johnson & Johnson, so Gilead must split profits.” (NYT

• HIV/AIDS treatment drugs can cost $15,000 to $40,000 a year, according to the National Association of People With AIDS (NAPWA).

• (This does not include doctors visits, tests, and other treatment.)

• “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around half the people diagnosed with HIV in the U.S. don’t receive regular health care. Of those who do, 42 percent receive Medicaid and 24 percent are uninsured,” reports NPR

• So first choice: Commercial or individual insurance, if you have it. But even then, some of the drugs aren’t covered, and patients must either pay out of pocket or apply for prescription assistance through their state’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP).

• Low-income people can apply for Medicaid, which has strict income rules that vary by state.

• Uninsured people who make too much to qualify for Medicaid can apply for their state’s Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP).

• As a last resort, The Ryan White Care Act, enacted in 1990, provides funding for people who cannot receive coverage through personal insurance, Medicaid, or other means. It currently provides services to half a million Americans.

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