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HRC, Treatment Action Group & the Fair Pricing Coalition Launch #FairDrugPricesNow Campaign

Today, HRC joined with the Treatment Action Group (TAG) and the Fair Pricing Coalition (FPC) in launching #FairDrugPricesNow, a public education and outreach campaign to mobilize LGBTQ people and their allies to address the alarming rise of prescription drug prices in the United States.

The campaign launches as public debate and outrage is increasing around the costs of prescription drugs and the dire and sometimes deadly health consequences that can follow when vital medicines become too expensive for many patients who desperately need them. The centerpiece of the campaign is a video that lays out the unfair system of drug pricing in the United States and the disproportionate effect it has on LGBTQ people, those living with and affected by HIV, and, in particular, individuals at the intersection of those identities.

“No family should have to choose between paying for medicine or putting food on their table, but, more and more, patients and consumers are being priced out of lifesaving and necessary care,” said Mary Beth Maxwell, HRC’s Senior Vice President for Programs, Research, and Training. “We are proud to join with the Treatment Action Group and Fair Pricing Coalition to mobilize our communities in support of common-sense reforms to ensure that every person can access the care they need to live and thrive. Our outrage at needlessly inflated drug prices must be channeled into calls for change and a desire for action that reflects the urgent reality faced by so many families.”

The #FairDrugPricesNow campaign is made possible with generous support from the Elton John AIDS Foundation

“Over the years, we have seen HIV and hepatitis drug prices rise to unsustainable levels. There have been numerous Congressional investigations and a comprehensive report issued by the Senate Finance Committee on this issue, but nothing has really changed to date,” said Lynda Dee, FPC Co-Chair. “Thus, there is a need to raise awareness and mobilize the LGBTQ community to address this continuing crisis. We have a long and successful history of self-education and activism. Now is the time to turn our attention to unsustainable drug pricing and price increases.”

“Rapidly escalating drug pricing trends cannot continue,” said Tim Horn, HIV Project Director of TAG and an FPC member. ”In 2016, federal spending on HIV and AIDS care and treatment will be in the ballpark of $26.4 billion. Our National HIV and AIDS Strategy aims to increase the percentage of people diagnosed with HIV who are on antiretroviral regimens and virally suppressed to at least 80 percent. Nationally, we’re only halfway there. If we’re to end HIV as an epidemic in the U.S., some things are going to need to change—runaway drug pricing being at the top of the list.”

The #FairDrugPricesNow campaign calls for several steps to combat rising prescription drug prices. They include increasing transparency by requiring drug companies to disclose pricing for government-funded programs including Medicare and Medicaid, and to reveal the actual cost of research and development of particular drugs.

Last fall, Martin Shkreli, then-CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, came under intense public scrutiny when his company increased the price of Daraprim, a crucial and often life-saving drug frequently used by people living with HIV and pregnant people, by more than 5000% overnight. HRC slammed Shkreli and called for a Congressional investigation into Turing’s price gouging.  Several other pharmaceutical companies have faced similar controversy, including Mylan for a recent six-fold price increase for its essential EpiPen.

To learn more about the #FairDrugPricesNow campaign, visit http://www.hrc.org/campaigns/fairdrugpricesnow.