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Cost of War vs. Cost of Cure


Some interesting information for those who may want to keep their state and federal representatives and their staff informed:

Since 2001, the cost of war to the United States (US alone - not counting costs to other countries) is:
$1,267,170,400.00 and counting


While experts estimate that over $800 million a year will be needed to fully fund the most promising opportunities in AIDS cure research.  Currently less than $100 million a year is available for this effort. (Source: Treatment Action Group)

Some of the world’s top research institutions are currently engaged in studies to learn more about infected resting cells and the behaviour of HIV. But the truth is that this field does not receive a lot of funding. Of the $1.54 billion spent by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) on AIDS in 2009, only $40 million was spent on AIDS cure research.16 This represents only 3 percent of the total NIAID AIDS budget.

What percentage of its research budget did the National Institute of Allergy and
Infectious Diseases spend on AIDS cure research?  Let’s look at 2009, the most recent
year for which the NIAID has full data.
In 2009, NIAID spent  $40,652,172 on AIDS cure research. The total AIDS spending of
NIAID in 2009 was  $1.541 Billion.  Thus, NIAID spent less than 3% of it AIDS budget on
cure research

How Much Should a Cure for AIDS Cost?
The AIDS cure treatment for the one patient who has apparently been cured, known as
the Berlin Patient (he was treated in Berlin, Germany), cost $100,000. Some researchers
believe that they must only develop inexpensive cures that can be distributed to millions
of people. But that’s a fallacy—many treatments, including protease inhibitors, were
initially very expensive. As one NIH administrator and researcher put it, "You start with
something complicated and with time you take measures that make it easy." 8
Researchers should be exploring every avenue to find a cure regardless of the cost of the
resulting therapy. Once they have a cure that is safe and effective, the scientific,
manufacturing, and advocacy communities can work to make it cheaper, and find ways
to scale up production and distribution to the millions of people who need it. But
researchers should not think that they have to develop a cure that is cheap right out of
the box. Even Model T cars were originally made by hand.
Also, if US AIDS treatments cost $15,000-$20,000 per person per year, a cure that costs
$100,000 is only the same price as five years of treatment and care in a Western nation.
If we look at the international community, where treatment is much cheaper due to
generic competition and deals struck by nonprofit foundations, billions of dollars are also
spent on AIDS care and treatment that could eventually be re-deployed to pay for cures.
Cures that are expensive at first and become cheaper over time. 

So, what should be done:

What can we do to foster a cure for AIDS? 
1. Congress must fully fund the National Institutes of Health. The Treatment Action Group
of New York has shown that the NIH has been struggling under essentially the same
funding level since 2003, yet facing 13% in cumulative biomedical inflation, which erodes
its purchasing power by billions of dollars. The NIH is arguably the world’s leading
research institution for AIDS, cancer, schizophrenia and many other scourges.   US
Congress must properly fund this critical medical research that can improve, or even
save, their lives. 
We are calling on Congress to increase NIH funding  overall by 20% to $37 billion, to
begin to start to make up the funding gap from the past 8 years. [Based on White House
estimated NIH FY 2010 spending = $31,089,000,000 +  20%= $37.3 billion]
As a first step, we must educate members of Congress. Do they realize that we are
spending $20  billion dollars per year on AIDS care, (2/3 of the budget  for the entire
National Institutes of Health) and only $60 million on promising AIDS cure research?  Do
they know how AIDS cure research is actually going? If they did, perhaps they would
support the funding we are requesting.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease must bring the budget for AIDS
cure research up to the level of other major AIDS initiatives. To start, the budget should
quadruple for FY2011 to $240 million and reach $600 million within five years. We want
the cure for AIDS to happen as soon as possible, not as part of a scale-up plan headed for
2020. However, this money should not come from AIDS vaccine or microbicides research
or other badly needed funding, and doesn’t have to.

and for more and citation for above see:
(The AIDS Policy Project - AIDS Cure Research for Everyone: A Beginner's Guide to How It's Going and Who's Paying For It.)

Thanks for the great info here! I am marching this Weds. in solidarity with Healthcare Workers and Occupy Wall Street ( for calendar list of events )...I am hoping to see more involvement from my fellow Healthcare PATIENTS who are fed up with the current state of Business As Usual; re: big Pharma policies and price gouging, Insurance providers who won't cover life saving procedures,  Corporate "personhood" ruling (Citizens United) which allows unlimited corporate $ponsorship of political candidates.
I would love to link with other interested activists or anyone with the energy to stand up for what is right...
           Facebook/Jeffreysan (send me a pvt. message & friend request)

You'd think, considering the scope of the HIV/AIDS pandemic that our government and all others who are capable would be pouring money into research for a cure. For all the strides forward that have been made in the last thirty years and for all the rousing speeches made, when you see the actual amount of money spent it seems that really our government, insurance companies and the drug industry could care less. Intellectually, I understand this is a very complex issue, and that a great many doctors and researchers are attacking the problem but its still frustrating.

I totally agree that war money would be better spent on healthcare and, because I am personally affected, on HIV and finding a cure.

--- Quote from: phildinftlaudy on October 22, 2011, 05:13:29 PM ---How Much Should a Cure for AIDS Cost?
The AIDS cure treatment for the one patient who has apparently been cured, known as
the Berlin Patient (he was treated in Berlin, Germany), cost $100,000.

--- End quote ---
that doesn't sound right at all as the Berlin Patient had two stem cell transplants. a basic transplant alone can cost $100,000 without including the costs (and difficulty) of finding a donor, hospitalization and aftercare. T. Brown also underwent chemotherapy and radiation which jumps the total up by even more - not to mention the severe side effects from all those treatments (more costs to treat those problems) or  rehabilitation and training (which added yet more to the total). And that doesn't even begin to consider the 10%-40% chance of death from just the transplants alone.

This article from Scientific American from this summer discussed why a model for the Berlin Patient treatment really shouldn't be used (in monetary or practical health care terms) to discuss curing a majority of HIV infected people.

I seem to remember once having seen an article stating the costs of treating the Berlin Patient was upwards of $2 million. Is there an article anywhere that actually discusses the true costs of eradicating HIV was T. Brown?


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