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February 03, 2004
AIDS drug's price soars

Doctors are outraged by the 400% jump in the cost of the vital medicine.

Doctors nationwide have begun an unprecedented protest over a 400 percent increase in the price of a drug that has helped hundreds of thousands of patients with HIV and AIDS live longer.

A friendly and often lucrative relationship between HIV doctors and Abbott Laboratories has gone sour because of the price increase. What began as a war of words between several HIV organizations and the company has escalated to include a boycott.

In a Jan. 20 letter to the company, more than 150 doctors who specialize in HIV care said they will resign from Abbott advisory panels, refuse to participate in Abbott drug trials or attend Abbott-sponsored lectures. They will ban Abbott representatives from their offices and consider alternatives to Abbott drugs when possible for their patients.

The link, to the Sacramento Bee, has the whole article, which I encourage you to read in full.

Okay, what else is new in health care?

Well, there's Rural health funds would shrink under Bush budget.

For those not registered with the site:

By Jeff Tieman, Modern Healthcare / Feb 3, 2004

Congress helped rural providers in the Medicare reform law, but now President Bush would take away from rural healthcare under his 2005 budget request.

The budget blueprint Bush sent Congress Monday would take a 70% bite out of rural health programs administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration of HHS and would represent "the largest reductions to rural programs in more than 10 years," according to the National Rural Health Association.

Specifically, Bush's budget proposal would chop rural health outreach grants to $11 million in fiscal 2005 from $40 million in 2004 and eliminate the Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant Program and all HRSA funding for public health improvement projects.

The federal government will spend an estimated $372 million on such projects in fiscal 2004. The proposed cuts have rural providers -- which won a number of concessions in the Medicare reform law -- preparing for another fight.

At deadline, HHS officials had not responded to a request for comment.

Posted by AnneZook at 04:05 PM