According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV. Every year, an additional 50,000 Americans are infected and 10,000 people die every year due to AIDS.
Although there are medicines that can slow or stop the disease, many HIV-positive Americans cannot afford them. In response to these alarming statistics, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) called for eliminating legal monopolies that cause these medicines to be prohibitively expensive. Sanders said: “The U.S. has – by far – the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. The simple fact is that the prices of patent medicines are a significant barrier to access to health for millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans and people die because of it.”
Senator Sanders new legislation would create a $3 billion annual prize fund to reward the discovery of new treatments for HIV/AIDS. This would be supported by the federal government as well as private health insurers in an amount proportionate to their share of the HIV/AIDS drug market.
It has been estimated that the nearly $10 billion U.S. Market for AIDS drugs could be supplied at generic prices for 10 percent of that figure, so Sanders’s plan should create a savings for taxpayers and consumers.