Boehringer Ingelheim has been praised for increasing the rebates it offers for HIV medicines in the USA by the country’s largest and oldest AIDS support organisation.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has lauded the German company, which markets Aptivus (tipranavir) and Viramune (nevirapine), for being among the first drug companies to voluntarily increase its pricing rebates for the federally-funded, state-run AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP) in the USA. The network currently has more than 8,800 people on waiting lists to access antiretrovirals.

The ADAP Crisis Task Force (ACTF) noted that an agreement has been reached which extends additional discounts and rebates on HIV medications produced by Boehringer, "beyond existing ones mandated by health reform and included in previous agreements, through 2013". It also extends price freezes on HIV drugs purchased by ADAPs and the parties are continuing negotiations which are expected to provide additional discounts and rebates.

Michael Weinstein, AHF's president, said Boehringer’s action "is a watershed moment in the AIDS drug crisis" and praised the firm's executives "for their realism and leadership for being among the first to address this crisis by voluntarily increasing their drug rebates for ADAP". He added the move "should also serve as a halcyon call to others - notably Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead Sciences, Johnson & Johnson and Merck & Co - to do more to address the ADAP crisis by increasing their own rebates".

The AHF notes that Abbott Laboratories announced earlier this year it would be increasing its rebate for ADAP by 8%, though the former says it has been unable to later confirm Abbott’s action. However, AHF believes the Abbott rebate rise came as a result of contract expiration and re-negotiation, while Boehringer's decision "appears to be a voluntary effort of the company to alleviate the ADAP crisis, which makes it an even more groundbreaking move".

Mr Weinstein concluded by saying that "we urge other AIDS groups to join us in appealing to all AIDS drugmakers to follow the path to improved ADAP access blazed in 2011 by Abbott and Boehringer".