DRUG BUST

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FYI: Five AIDS drug manufacturers overcharged AIDS Drug Assistance Programs and community health clinics around the country by $6.1 million in 1999, a federal Department of Health and Human Services investigation has found. The government buys AIDS meds in bulk at a reduced price based on a formula intended to determine each manufacturer’s “best price.” In 1999, five companies (which HHS did not name) set that price higher than they should have for 11 medications, by leaving out their bulk sales to HMOs. ADAP programs around the country, including New York’s, have faced repeated budget shortages in recent years because of escalating drug costs, leading some to cap enrollment or limit services. [3/27/03]