AHF Files Brief Against CVS at the US Supreme Court OutBuro lgbt professional entreprenuer networking online community gay lesbian transgender queer bisexual nonbinary

AHF Files Brief Against CVS at the U.S. Supreme Court

9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled earlier that HIV patients may make a discrimination claim under the Affordable Care Act against CVS for requiring HIV patients to use mail-order pharmacies or to go to a few of CVS’s selected specialty pharmacies, where patients say they are not getting full service

In 2018, AHF warned the U.S. Department of Justice that the then-proposed CVS merger with Aetna would create a monopoly-like behemoth that would harm patients, which appears to be the case here with pharmacy choice

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, filed a brief of amicus curiae with the Supreme Court of the United States earlier today in CVS Pharmacy, Inc. vs. Doe, a case set to be heard and decided by summer 2022.

In December 2020, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Doe vs. CVS Pharmacy, Inc. that people living with HIV can state a discrimination claim under the Affordable Care Act against CVS Pharmacy, Inc., for requiring them to use mail-order pharmacies to obtain HIV/AIDS medications or to go to one of a few designated “specialty” pharmacies that are little more than pick-up stations, as part of in-network pharmacy services for private insurance plans. CVS appealed the ruling and the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. In its brief, AHF asks the Supreme Court to affirm the earlier judgement of the Ninth Circuit.

“For people living with HIV/AIDS, real specialty pharmacies and pharmacists that focus on HIV/AIDS and in-person treatment provide demonstrably superior care than do mail-order pharmacies and retail pharmacies. We believe that CVS’s denial of choice in pharmacy services for HIV/AIDS patients is both wrong and discriminatory,” said Jonathan M. Eisenberg, Deputy General Counsel — Litigation for AHF.

AHF’s amicus curiae brief focuses on three primary arguments:

  1. That U.S. Statutory Law Requires Courts to Protect People Living with HIV/AIDS from Disability Discrimination by Healthcare Providers,
  2. That Coerced Use of Mail-Order Pharmacies Is Highly Detrimental to People Living with HIV/AIDS, and
  3. That Coercing People Living with HIV/AIDS to Use Mail-Order Pharmacies Is a Disability-Rights Violation, by Both Intent and Impact.

“CVS said to people living with HIV that they can only go to a few of its selected pharmacies and/or be compelled to utilize its PBM’s mail order pharmacies. Patients asserted they weren’t getting full service there, which discriminated against them. They wanted to keep their current pharmacies which provide more comprehensive and specialty services,” said Tom Myers, Chief of Public Affairs and General Counsel for AHF. “We filed this amicus brief to support HIV/AIDS patients’ legal arguments in the case before the Supreme Court and to defend patients’ rights and choice in their pharmacy services.”

The December 2020 9th Circuit Court ruling validated AHF’s earlier warning of the CVS threat to the HIV response back in 2018. See AHF press statement (Nov. 28, 2018) “CVS-Aetna Merger is Bad for HIV Patients.”

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.6 million individuals in 45 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us @aidshealthcare.

Contacts

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Jonathan M. Eisenberg, Deputy General Counsel–Litigation for AHF +1.323.860.5361 w Jonathan.esienberg@ahf.org
Ged Kenslea, Senior Director, Communications, AHF +1.323.791.5526 [cell] +.323.308.1833 [work] gedk@aidshealth.org
John Hassell, National Director of Advocacy, AHF +1.202.774.4854 [cell] John.hassell@aidshealth.org

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AHF Praises President Biden’s Pick for New PEPFAR Chief

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the world’s largest HIV/AIDS care provider operating in 45 countries, praised today President Biden’s decision to nominate John Nkengasong to lead the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Nkengasong currently serves as the Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDC). Before joining ACDC as its inaugural director, he served as an acting deputy director at the US CDC Center for Global Health. Nkengasong is a virologist by training and holds a dual US and Cameroonian citizenship.

“We believe Dr. Nkengasong is well suited to lead PEPFAR because his tireless efforts in fighting COVID-19 as the head of ACDC are widely praised across Africa. As a virologist, he understands both the HIV and the COVID-19 pandemics, and has the requisite managerial and scientific credentials to successfully lead PEPFAR,” said AHF Africa Bureau Chief Dr. Penninah Iutung. “We hope the US Senate will fully support Dr. Nkengasong’s nomination and move quickly to confirm his appointment. To-date PEPFAR has saved millions of lives, most of them across Africa, and during the ongoing pandemic it is also providing indispensable COVID-19 relief. With Dr. Nkengasong at the helm, PEPFAR will continue its legacy of lifesaving humanitarian work funded by the generosity of the American people.”

Congress will soon consider whether to reauthorize PEPFAR for another five years. AHF has always been a strong supporter of PEPFAR and has repeatedly advocated for its reauthorization in previous rounds.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.6 million clients in 45 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare

Contacts

US MEDIA CONTACT:

Ged Kenslea, Senior Director, Communications, AHF

+1.323.308.1833 work +1.323.791.5526 mobile

gedk@aidshealth.org

Denys Nazarov, Director of Global Policy &

Communications, AHF

+1 323.308.1829

denys.nazarov@ahf.org

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AHF: ‘Providence Journal’ Rejects Ad Skewering CVS’s PBM Abuse

AIDS organization’s ‘Corporate Vampires Suck’ advocacy ad had already run in nearly half-a-dozen print and online new outlets nationwide, but was rejected last week by CVS’s home state newspaper, the ‘Providence Journal’

AHF ad targets CVS, the sixth largest corporation in the world, for its anti-competitive behavior, notably, buying up health plans like Aetna, and then forcing patients—including HIV patients, who often rely on specialty services from their pharmacists—to obtain their lifesaving medications by mail order or drop shipment

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#StopCVSNow–After AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) launched a new national advocacy and ad campaign to take on health and pharmacy giant CVS over its anti-competitive business model and practices, it learned late last week that the ‘Providence Journal’—CVS’s home state daily newspaper—was rejecting AHF’s ad. CVS, the sixth largest corporation in the world, is headquartered in nearby Woonsocket, RI. A version of the ad ran in today’s Boston Sunday Globe on page A3.


The advocacy campaign and ad, ‘CVS: Corporate Vampires Suck’ (https://ahf.org/stop-cvs), targets CVS over its fierce anti-competitive behavior, specifically regarding its refusal to allow patients any choice in their pharmacy services. CVS’s currently forces most of its health plan patients from providers like Aetna—which CVS purchased for $69 billion in cash and stock in 2018—to obtain their lifesaving medications by mail order or drop shipment.

AHF’s ‘CVS: Corporate Vampires Suck’ campaign kicked off last month, with a full-page, full-color ad that ran in daily and weekly newspapers across the country with most ads landing Sunday, July 11. The ad also ran in the weekly ‘Houston Defender’ (Thursday, July 8). The Sunday papers include the Ft. Lauderdale ‘Sun Sentinel,’ ‘Houston Chronicle,’ and the ‘Chicago Defender’ (online). The ads are being complemented by a radio campaign, social media and a legislative call-to-action urging viewers and readers to contact their legislators asking them to help fight back against CVS’s monopolistic and anti-competitive behavior.

AHF intended to run the ad this week in the ‘Providence Journal’ and had been communicating back and forth with the paper’s advertising department regarding suggested possible changes or edits to the ad. Some changes were incorporated by AHF: a change to the parody CVS logo and some softening of the ad copy. However, after making some initial changes suggested by the ‘Providence Journal,’ the paper’s ad reps then advised AHF the ad could not run. They also refused to inform AHF what else might need to be changed or altered to clear the ad for publication. The ‘Providence Journal’ is the oldest continuously published daily newspaper in the United States.

“While we are disappointed that the ‘Providence Journal’ will not run our ‘Corporate Vampires Suck’ advocacy ad, we are not entirely surprised. It’s the hometown paper of CVS, which also runs multipage ad circulars dozens of Sundays every year in the paper and in most major newspapers across the country,” said Michael Weinstein president of AHF. “But make no bones about it. CVS remains a major threat to public health. It has been buying up health plans for billions and forcing clients—including HIV/AIDS patients—to use CVS’s mail order services, harming patients and fragmenting their care in the process. Patients are suffering and small pharmacies are being squeezed, with many, being put out of business. That’s why we put some real fangs into this advocacy campaign—we need the public’s help to fight back against CVS’s ‘corporate vampires.’”

AHF’s ‘CVS: Corporate Vampires Suck’ campaign will run until September. For more information about this campaign to fight back against CVS and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) who are putting their profit ahead of patient health, please visit: https://ahf.org/stop-cvs

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.5 million individuals in 45 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us @aidshealthcare.

Contacts

Ged Kenslea, Senior Director, Communications, AHF +1.323.791.5526 [cell] gedk@aidshealth.org
John Hassell, National Director of Advocacy, AHF +1.202.774.4854 [cell] John.hassell@aidshealth.org

AHF Commends the Resumption of HIV Treatment in Kenya – But More Is Needed

NAIROBI, Kenya–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) welcomes the decision reached by the US Embassy in Kenya and the National AIDS Control Council (NACC) to end the stalemate between the Kenya Ministry of Health and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). As a result, distribution of lifesaving HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment medications has resumed as of July 14, according to the US Embassy.

Civil society organisations, communities of people living with HIV and other stakeholders have been advocating for an end to the deadlock to ensure a continued flow of antiretroviral medicines and other essential HIV supplies.

“The uncertainty that was experienced by nearly a million adults and thousands of children who missed their most essential treatment for months was preventable and should never have been allowed to happen in the first place,” said Dr. Samuel Kinyanjui, Country Program Director for AHF Kenya. “The damage done to people’s lives and wellbeing—particularly children’s lives—is irreversible and must never be repeated.”

Despite encouraging negotiations between the Ministry of Health and USAID, the resolution of the impasse only directly addresses the consignment of medicines currently at the port of entry in Kenya. The newly reached agreement merely provides a temporary solution and does not substantively address any future stalemates or the broader issue of taxes being levied on medical products and technologies donated to Kenya for free distribution.

While AHF recognizes that the resumption of treatment will help alleviate the immediate danger to people living with HIV in Kenya, the government should promptly take the following actions to maintain progress toward fulfilling its commitments on ending AIDS and curbing new HIV infections:

  1. Ensure that normal operations are re-established at all HIV clinics across the country and that the Differentiated Service Delivery (DSD) model is restarted. DSD is well embraced by all stakeholders and has been proven to work very well.
  2. Find a permanent solution to address the taxation of donated medical products. This can be achieved by waiving taxes or implementing an exemption on all medical products received as donations.
  3. Improve communications among all relevant stakeholders by implementing consultation and feedback mechanisms. Insufficient communication with communities leads to mistrust and undermines the achievement of positive results.
  4. Strengthen the Health Commodities Security Technical Working Group by including representatives from communities of people living with HIV and civil society organizations.
  5. Ensure that HIV management is implemented holistically by taking into consideration prevention and diagnosis, care and treatment, and related essential commodities, including medications. This is urgently needed to address current shortages of paediatric HIV treatment, viral load testing reagents, and HIV test kits.

The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected all aspects of Kenya’s healthcare system with a particularly strong negative impact on communities of people living with HIV and those at risk of contracting HIV. Despite the challenging situation, by adopting the above-mentioned actions, the Kenyan government can preserve progress achieved through national AIDS control efforts to date, and it can ensure predictable access to HIV treatment and services for its citizens even in these difficult times.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.5 million clients in 45 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare

Contacts

KENYA MEDIA CONTACT:

Dr. Samuel Kinyanjui
Country Program Director
AHF Kenya

3rd Parklands Avenue, AHF Plaza

P.O. Box 103363-00101 Nairobi

Office Main: (254) 722 293 960

Samuel.Kinyanjui@ahf.org

Faith Ndungu Mwenda
Program Development and Advocacy Manager
AHF Kenya

3rd Parklands Avenue, AHF Plaza

P.O. Box 103363-00101 Nairobi

Office Main : (254) 722 293 960

Wamae.Maranga@ahf.org

US MEDIA CONTACT:

Ged Kenslea,
Senior Director,

Communications, AHF

+1.323.791.5526 cell

ged.kenslea@ahf.org

Denys Nazarov
Director of Global Policy &

Communications, AHF

+1.323.308.1829

denys.nazarov@ahf.org