AHF to Gilead Shareholders: Sky High Drug Prices Endanger The Entire Industry’s Future

AHF supports the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust’s Shareholder Proposal directing Gilead’s Board to be more accountable and transparent regarding the impact that the company’s pricing and policies on its hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS drugs is having on government programs like Medicare, Medicaid as well as prison systems and other programs; AHF urges shareholders to cast ‘yes’ votes on Proposal #8

LOS ANGELES--()--AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization and a vocal critic of runaway drug pricing and drug profiteering today is urging all Gilead Sciences, Inc. shareholders to vote ‘yes’ on a shareholder resolution (Shareholder Proposal #8, pp. 41-42 of Gilead’s 2015 Proxy Statement) set for vote at Gilead’s AGM this Wednesday, May 6th in Millbrae, CA. Shareholder Proposal #8 was put forth by the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust and, according to the proposal, would require that Gilead’s Board of Directors:

“…report to shareholders by December 31, 2015, at reasonable cost and omitting confidential or proprietary information, on the risks to Gilead from rising pressure to contain U.S. specialty drug prices. Specialty drugs, as defined by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, are those that cost more than $600 per month. The report should address Gilead’s response, if any, to risks created by:

• The relationship between Gilead’s specialty drug prices and each of clinical benefit, patient access, the efficacy and price of alternative therapies,drug development costs and the proportion of those costs borne by academic institutions or the government;

• Price disparities between the U.S. and other countries and public concern that U.S. patients and payers are shouldering an excessive proportion of the cost burden;

• Price sensitivity of prescribers, payers and patients; and

• The possibility that pharmacoeconomics techniques such as cost-effectiveness studies will be relied on more by payers in making specialty drug reimbursement decisions.”

The UAW’s shareholder proposal also noted that, “A vigorous national debate has recently begun, spurred by the launch of Gilead’s hepatitis C drug Sovaldi, regarding appropriate pricing of specialty drugs and the impact of specialty drug costs on patient access and the health care system. Growth in U.S. spending on specialty drugs is expected to dwarf growth in overall prescription drug spending in coming years,” and that “The report requested in this proposal would allow shareholders to better evaluate the risks associated with Gilead’s approach to specialty drug pricing.”

As with a similar Gilead shareholder proposal put forth last year by AHF that would have tied Gilead executive compensation to patient access to their lifesaving drugs, Gilead tried vigorously—and unsuccessfully—to block the UAW’s proposal from even appearing on their Proxy Ballot. However, in mid-March of this year, according to a press statement by the UAW Trust, “The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) denied efforts by specialty drug manufacturers Gilead Sciences and Vertex Pharmaceuticals to block shareholders from voting on proposals asking for greater transparency around the management and mitigation of the business risks from rapidly increasing U.S. drug prices. As a result of the SEC's decision, the shareholder resolutions, filed by the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust (the Trust), will appear on the companies' 2015 annual meeting ballots later this year.”

“Gilead has doubled down on its gluttonous pricing and policies with its new hepatitis C drug Harvoni and continues its bet that the sky is the limit on drug pricing. However, government officials and programs that previously offered little or no resistance are now finally pushing back,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “The State of Texas, with the third-largest Medicaid population, did not purchase any Sovaldi in 2014. It is only fitting that the Gilead Board turn the lens on itself and the company to take stock of what Gilead’s actions with these specialty drugs may be doing to the company and the public who rely on—or need and cannot obtain—these drugs. Gilead’s pricing and policies are endangering the entire drug industry.”

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 420,983 individuals in 36 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare.

Contacts

Media Contacts:
AHF
Ged Kenslea, Senior Director, Communications
Telephone: 323-308-1833
Mobile: 323-791-5526
E-Mail: gedk@aidshealth.org

Release Summary

AHF to Gilead Shareholders: Sky High Drug Prices Endanger The Entire Industry’s Future -- AHF supports the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust’s Shareholder Proposal #8

Contacts

Media Contacts:
AHF
Ged Kenslea, Senior Director, Communications
Telephone: 323-308-1833
Mobile: 323-791-5526
E-Mail: gedk@aidshealth.org