POLICY PROJECT NEWS
TAGline Spring 2016
NEWS ON THE FIGHT TO END HIV/AIDS, VIRAL HEPATITIS, AND TUBERCULOSIS
- Fair Pricing: Reclaiming Drugs for the Common Good
By Tim Horn
- Greed and the Necessity for Regulation
The story of U.S. drug pricing run amok isn’t just about corporate arrogance and avarice—it is also about government permissiveness and inaction
By Tim Horn, Erica Lessem, and Kenyon Farrow
- PrEP Pricing Problems
A number of barriers to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake, use, and adherence have been identified—cost shouldn’t be one of them
By James Krellenstein and Jeremiah Johnson
- The Low Cost of Universal Access
Generic treatments for HIV, viral hepatitis, and cancer can be affordably—and profitably—mass-produced for broad, unobstructed availability
By Tracy Swan
HIV Community Letter to Hillary for America
March 14, 2016 – Dear Secretary Clinton: We write to you in the sincere hope that we can work together to transform the pain caused by your March 11th mischaracterization of the Reagans’ role in the AIDS crisis into an urgently needed public discussion of a plan to end the United States HIV epidemic by the year 2025.
Treatment Action Group hails Governor Cuomo’s proposed legislation allowing minors to maintain confidentiality when obtaining HIV treatment or preventive therapy
February 11, 2016 – "Governor Cuomo continues to provide globally unprecedented leadership with New York State's plan to end AIDS as an epidemic by the year 2020,” said Treatment Action Group executive director Mark Harrington. “With today's announcement that he will submit legislation allowing minors to consent to receive antiretroviral therapy (ART) or pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to treat or prevent HIV infection, New York State moves closer to achieving an AIDS-free generation in this decade. Treatment Action Group salutes the governor's sustained leadership in these efforts and calls on state legislators to rapidly and unanimously pass this lifesaving, infection-averting legislation to end AIDS and HIV acquisition among our state's youth."
JOB OPENING: Senior Health Policy Officer
November 30, 2015 – Under the supervision of the US & Global Health Policy Director, the Senior Health Policy Officer is primarily responsible for managing and advancing the public policy priorities of the Treatment Action Group (TAG).
TAG's Response to Sen. Cassidy Statements on AIDS Research Spending
19 November 2015 – I would like to offer comments to correct the record on statements given by Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) at the October 7, 2015, hearing on the National Institutes of Health fiscal year 2016 budget. Several of his comments to the committee and NIH Director Francis Collins were incorrect or misleading. If his erroneous statements about AIDS research funding at the NIH are mistaken for fact, we will set a dangerous course for current and future research being conducted at the agency and undermine the prioritization process under way at the Office of AIDS Research (OAR).
ACT UP\New York and TAG to Host Town Hall Meeting to Discuss Drastic Cuts to City’s HIV Testing and STD Screening Programs
NEW YORK CITY – AUGUST 31, 2015– In response to disturbing trends in New York City’s response to the ongoing HIV and STD epidemics, ACT UP\New York and Treatment Action Group (TAG) will host a town hall meeting at the New York City LGBT Center on 13th Street in Manhattan at 6:30 PM on September 1, 2015. ACT UP and TAG seek to push the de Blasio administration to mitigate the massive citywide reduction of sexual health services in recent years, including the March 2015 closure of the Chelsea STD Clinic.
Washington Blade Op-Ed: D.C. AIDS plan ambitious but must include community
July 10, 2015—By Kenyon Farrow—Could D.C. be the next place that declares a bold plan for ending the HIV epidemic in just a few years? New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was the first governor to announce such an effort. Now it appears that Mayor Muriel Bowser wants to make this a priority in her first term. But while I applaud the mayor for taking on this ambitious (yet achievable) goal, she needs to make the community part of the process of conceiving, developing, and implementing this new plan.
NYTimes Op-Ed: Don’t Weaken the F.D.A.’s Drug Approval Process
By GREGG GONSALVES, MARK HARRINGTON and DAVID A. KESSLER
JUNE 11, 2015 – DURING the early days of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, there were no effective treatments against H.I.V., the virus that causes the disease. Because of this, many thousands of people died lingering deaths. The desperation of those times led to the rise of an activist movement that took to the streets and pressed government officials to expedite research on drugs to treat AIDS.
Governor Releases Blueprint to End AIDS in NYS by 2020
April 29, 2015 – New York, NY– Governor Cuomo formally accepted the long-awaited Blueprint to End AIDS at a public event on Wednesday, marking an important step towards fulfilling his commitment to end AIDS in New York State.
Governor Cuomo’s Plan to End AIDS Will Save Lives and Money
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 – TAG & Housing Works Report Shows Plan to End AIDS by 2020 Will Translate into $4.5 Billion in Net Medicaid Savings for NY State.
Guiding Principles for Eliminating Disease-Specific Criminal Laws
February 27, 2015 – The Positive Justice Project is dedicated to eliminating disease-specific criminal laws that base liability on an individual’s health status rather than on the intent to harm another individual. We oppose the use of felony laws, and the associated lengthy terms of incarceration that treat health status as evidence of wrongful intent, and transmission of a treatable illness as equivalent to manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and other forms of assaults that pose immediate, lifethreatening harm to another.
Governor Cuomo’s Ending the Epidemic Task Force Completes Plan to End AIDS in NY State by 2020
– Activists, service providers, public health professionals hail governor’s leadership, call on legislators and local governments to join forces to end the epidemic –
ALBANY, NY – JANUARY 13, 2015. Today the Ending the Epidemic Task Force, convened by the New York State Department of Health (DOH) at the behest of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, completed its comprehensive, rigorous, and unprecedented Plan to End AIDS in New York State by 2020.
Activists Urge CDC Withdraw Ebola Travel Restrictions for Asymptomatic People
November 7, 2014 – We are concerned about the CDC allowance for public movement and assemblage restrictions for completely asymptomatic individuals in the “some-risk” exposure category. For this population, particularly those in compliance with direct active monitoring recommendations, such restrictions are de facto quarantines. There is no evidence to suggest that these restrictions provide any additional public health benefit.
Advocates Urge Gov. Coumo to withdraw Mandatory Quarantine Order
October 26, 2014 – We write as professionals, activists, and public health researchers who have worked to combat AIDS and other infectious diseases in New York and around the world for over three decades. We have not forgotten how HIV/AIDS was at first largely ignored while it appeared to affect only marginalized communities or the stigma generated once fear of the virus took hold in the larger population. We have watched with growing concern as Ebola virus disease (EVD) was ignored far too long while confined to some of the poorest countries in the world, and how it has now led to hysteria here in the United States, based on only a very small number of cases. As you know, stigma remains our biggest enemy in fighting AIDS and could quickly become the biggest barrier in combatting EVD. Therefore, we implore you to withdraw the mandatory quarantine requirement for all people entering the United States through Newark Liberty International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport who have had direct contact with individuals with EVD in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
Advocacy Groups Report to UN on U.S. Failures to Address the HIV Epidemic in Communities of Color
August 14, 2014 – A national coalition of HIV/AIDS advocacy organizations has submitted a report to the United Nations in Geneva detailing the disparate impact of HIV/AIDS on communities of color, and identifying the lack of U.S. action on social drivers of the epidemic in those communities as a human rights violation. The report was produced by AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC), Center for HIV Law and Policy (CHLP), Counter Narrative Project, HIV Prevention Justice Alliance (HIV PJA), National Working Positive Coalition (NWPC), Positive Women’s Network of the United States of America (PWN-USA), Sero Project, Treatment Action Group (TAG), and Women with a Vision.
- Press release from the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.
- Complete report: HIV Criminalization, Poverty, and Health care Access – United States’ Violations of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
Treatment Action Group Commends Governor Cuomo for Launching Historic New York State Plan to End AIDS
TAG Calls on Governor to Expeditiously Appoint a High-Level Task Force to Develop Blueprint to End AIDS Deaths and Halt New HIV Infections
June 29, 2014, New York, New York– Treatment Action Group (TAG) applauds Governor Andrew M. Cuomo for his full support of a historic community-developed plan to end the AIDS epidemic in New York State by 2020, as announced this morning by the Governor’s office and reported in today’s edition of the New York Times (“Cuomo Plan Seeks to End New York’s AIDS Epidemic,” Anemona Hartocollis, page A18). With this bold initiative, New York State—long the epicenter of the nation’s HIV epidemic—becomes the first jurisdiction anywhere in the world to publicly declare a goal of ending AIDS as an epidemic with the launch of a comprehensive effort to end AIDS deaths and halt new infections by employing state-of-the-art testing, preventive technologies, treatment, and supportive services.
Letter to Governor Cuomo on Ending AIDS in New York State
February 18, 2014 - We write to follow-up on our January 14, 2014 letter regarding the development of a plan to end AIDS in New York State. In addition to creating a Task Force to End AIDS in New York to promptly develop a strategic blueprint and plan in collaboration with the community and the DOH AIDS Institute, we urge you to include the following items in your 30-day amendments to the 2014-2015 Executive Budget:
- $10 million in new funding for the AIDS Institute to implement the plan developed by the above noted task force;
- Article 7 language to eliminate the use of condoms as evidence of prostitution by police and prosecutors; and
- Article 7 language to legalize the possession of syringes.
TAG Applauds $12 Billion Replenishment of Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and Calls for Greater Flexibility to Support Middle-Income Countries Coping with Large HIV or TB Epidemics
New York, New York – December 3, 2013. Treatment Action Group applauds the donors who have helped make it possible to save more lives by raising a record-breaking $12 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria over the next three years. TAG also commends the Obama administration for its generous match of one dollar for every two dollars contributed by other donors, which helped to drive up funding commitments in the current replenishment round.
Filling the Gaps in the U.S. HIV Treatment Cascade: Developing a Community-Driven Research Agenda
December 1, 2013 – TAG and amfAR sponsored a workshop in Washington, D.C., on June 18–19, 2013, to develop a community-based agenda to improve implementation of effective service-delivery approaches and identify research priorities for improved management of HIV treatment and prevention, with a particular focus on filling the gaps in the United States HIV continuum of care (or treatment cascade). This document represents the outcomes from that meeting, attended by representatives from government, academia, and health care systems, along with community-based advocates and service providers.
167 Organizations and 513 Individuals Signed On Letter to Secretary Sebelius on the Allowance of Co-pay Assistance in the ACA Health Plans
December 2, 2013 – We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, are writing to urge that the HHS issue clear guidance on the allowance of drug industry–provided co-payment, co-insurance, or other out-of-pocket discount cards and coupons in the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Health Insurance Marketplaces. As people living with, and organizations serving people with, HIV, HCV, and other life-threatening and chronic health conditions, we are alarmed by the possibility of the prohibition of these critical financial lifelines in the ACA, just as affordable health insurance for people with preexisting conditions is finally becoming a reality in the United States, thanks to the ACA.
amfAR/TAG Issue Brief: The Cost of Flat Funding for Biomedical Research
August 12, 2013 – “The Costs of Flat Funding for Biomedical Research,” prepared by the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) in collaboration with TAG, examines the declining purchasing value of public funding for health research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the impact this has on public health, scientific progress, U.S. productivity, and U.S. science leadership.
Press Release: 2013 Pipeline Report calls on leaders to get the best HIV, hepatitis C virus (HCV), and tuberculosis drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines to the most people as quickly as possible
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, June 30, 2013 – HIV i-Base and Treatment Action Group (TAG) called on global and national leaders, research sponsors, and regulatory authorities to work together to make the best HIV, HCV, and TB drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines accessible as fast as possible, according to a report released today at the 7th International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Only Stronger U.S. Leadership Can End the AIDS Epidemic
Existing treatment and prevention techniques could prevent millions of new HIV infections and deaths from AIDS—but only if Obama sustains funding.
This article was first published on July 24, 2012 in theAtlantic.com
Letter to President Obama on Proposed FY 2013 Budget Cut to PEPFAR
March 1, 2012 - Dear Mr. President, As representatives of organizations that advocate for an evidence-based and robust response to global AIDS, we respond to your fiscal year 2013 budget request for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)—the flagship bilateral AIDS program—with shock and dismay. A proposed reduction of more than 10 percent to this lifesaving program is completely inconsistent with your bold leadership statement on World AIDS Day, with its commitment to scale up HIV treatment to an additional two million people by 2013 and prevention of mother to child transmission interventions for an addition 1.5 million pregnant women, to move forward to realize the goal of an AIDS-free generation. A $546 million proposed reduction in the PEPFAR budget will clearly translate into lives lost, scores of preventable infections, and services denied to orphans and vulnerable children.
Obama’s Global, Domestic & HIV Research FY 2013 Budget Backslides on Existing Commitments
Proposed Cuts to President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Would Prevent 500,000 People from Starting on Lifesaving HIV Treatment
— President’s 2013 Budget Weakens U.S. Leadership on Fighting HIV Globally and Domestically —
NEW YORK, NY – Thursday, February 16, 2012. Treatment Action Group (TAG) is deeply disappointed by President Obama’s proposed cuts to PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) and bilateral TB funds, freezing of NIH (National Institutes of Health) research as well as the insufficient attention to the worsening domestic AIDS crisis in the administration's fiscal year 2013 budget plan. “This senselessly harsh budget will directly contribute to millions of preventable illnesses and deaths among people living with HIV, hepatitis C, and TB in the U.S. and around the world.” said Mark Harrington, Executive Director of TAG, “Why does President Obama want to turn his back on the most effective, lifesaving global health and development program in history?"
Letter to Secretary Clinton on the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria
February 7, 2011 – Dear Secretary Clinton, We write to ask for your leadership in ensuring The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria is “open for new business,” saving lives through expanding programming in 2012. We ask that you convene an emergency donor meeting in advance of the July International AIDS Conference to re-invigorate the U.S. three-year commitment of $4 billion and use it to leverage commitments from other donors to the Global Fund. We also urge you and President Obama to use your political leadership — and the bipartisan support for The Global Fund — to achieve the U.S. pledge in 2013 without sacrificing any funding from essential bilateral AIDS, TB, and Malaria programs, which would undermine the game changing targets you and the president set at the end of last year.
Forgotten But Not Gone: Childhood TB Advocacy Meeting
On Thursday January 5, 2012, TAG held a Childhood TB Federal Advocacy Meeting in Washington, D.C. The meeting was co-sponsored by STOP TB, RESULTS/ACTION, the Center for Global Health Policy and the American Thoracic Society (ATS). Click here for presentation slides and advocacy links.
Let’s Redouble our Commitment to Cure AIDS!
December 1, 2011 – The debate over the federal budget and deficit reduction gets more heated each year. But on this World AIDS Day, the benefits of federal investment in research are incontrovertible. As documented earlier this year, for the ﬁrst time in history, a cure for AIDS is possible. One man’s HIV infection has been eradicated using a HIV-resistant immune cell transplant—a concept based on discoveries ﬁrst made by researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the 1990’s. For millions around the world this discovery is incredibly encouraging, despite the fact that this type of treatment would be difficult, costly, and too dangerous for widespread implementation. With the new scientific breakthrough, some of the smartest, most experienced scientists and new young investigators are employing cutting edge technologies and working tirelessly to discover and develop a safe, effective, feasible, and scalable HIV cure. We need Congress to increase funding for NIH for AIDS research in order to build on this momentum.
AIDS Research: Broad Health and Economic Benefits
July 2011 – Investments in health research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have paid enormous dividends in the health and well-being of people in the U.S. and around the world. HIV and AIDS research supported by NIH has yielded important recent advances and holds great promise for significantly reducing HIV infection rates and providing more effective treatments for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Back to Basics: HIV AIDS Advocacy as a Model for Catalyzing Change
July 2011 – TAG's Mark Harrington is featured in this publication from FasterCures.org. This report highlights how people affected by HIV rallied together and created an advocacy movement that demanded change and got results. The milestones of this movement include transforming the research system through patient-driven clinical trials, improving the regulatory paradigm through expanded and accelerated access mechanisms, and garnering political will needed to support federal investment in research and care. Ultimately, its most significant accomplishment was transforming HIV/AIDS from a death sentence to a chronic, manageable illness as long as access to medicines following diagnosis is assured. It is co-authored by FasterCures and HCM Strategists.
We CAN End the AIDS Epidemic
June 2011 – For the first time in the 30 years of the HIV epidemic, there is now conclusive evidence showing that earlier initiation of highly active combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) at 350-550 CD4 cells is a highly powerful tool for preventing transmission to sex partners and has clinical benefit for HIV-positive people. Now is the time to change the approach to the epidemic.
Bolder Action Needed by Donor Nations, Less Rhetoric in Fight against HIV/AIDS
June 2011 – TAG Statement on the U.N. High Level Meetings on HIV/AIDS Outcome Document - Treatment Action Group (TAG) calls on donor nations to affirm their commitment to HIV/AIDS by setting robust time-bound treatment targets, advocating for the elimination of legal barriers to access of treatment and care and by insisting on the protection of marginalized and vulnerable populations affected by HIV/AIDS.
Congressman Stark Introduces Bill to Tax Big Banks for Global Health, Climate, Deficit
February 2011 – Dear President Obama, We, the undersigned faith, labor, environmental, health, education and development organizations, write to urge you to join with French President Nicholas Sarkozy and a growing number of other world leaders and members of Congress in support of a miniscule tax on speculative financial transactions.
TAG Recommendations on Clinical Trials Network Restructuring
January 2011 – Treatment Action Group outlines issues of concern and questions about network restructuring research priorities and network structure. Below are the overarching recommendations that we’d like to make regarding the future of HIV therapeutics, HCV and TB/HIV clinical research agenda priorities during the next funding cycle.