Politics

Calif. Officials Seek Lower Prices For AIDS Drugs

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CBS Los Angeles (con't)

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SACRAMENTO (AP) — California state officials are asking drug companies to extend lower prices and rebates for AIDS drugs amid the state’s budget crisis.

Treasurer Bill Lockyer announced Friday that he sent the letters to eight pharmaceutical companies, including Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Merck. Last week, Controller John Chiang sent a letter to Gilead Sciences asking it to reduce the price of HIV/AIDS medications for California’s Drug Assistance progam.

Drug companies agreed to lower prices and rebates last year to help with the state’s budget deficit, but Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration expects the state will have to spend more this year because of increases in drug prices.

The AIDS assistance program provides lifesaving drugs to 38,000 low-income patients. Last year, the state eliminated $25.5 million from the program, leaving it with $70.8 million.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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