National Consumer News

Companies accused of inflating prescription prices for AIDS patients


By: Dave Huddleston

ATLANTA – Two insurance companies are accused of inflating prescription prices for patients with HIV and AIDS.

Channel 2’s Dave Huddleston talked to the lead investigator, who found what she calls questionable business practices.

Dr. Melanie Thompson, principal investigator for the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta (ARCA), accused insurance companies Humana and Cigna of making some of their patients pay hundreds of dollars for life-saving medication.

“I was very concerned and felt we needed to do something about this,” she said. “People may spend up to 20 percent of their income, and in some cases more, in order to buy the drugs that keep them alive.”

In their report filed with the nation’s Health and Human Services Department, Thompson–a health advocate for a non-profit that fights for patients rights alleges Cigna and Humana would cherry pick their patients.

HIV and AIDS patients, she said, pay $550 for their medication, but only $60 for rheumatoid arthritis medication that she says is just as expensive to produce.

“They pick the patients who are less expensive and they leave the more expensive patients to the other companies.”

Channel 2 Action News reached out to both Cigna and Humana.

We received a response from Cigna’s Joe Monday that said “thank you for your inquiry; however, Cigna does not comment on litigation matters.

We are still waiting to hear from Humana.

After Thompson’s investigation, six other states noticed similar problems and have also filed discrimination cases against other insurance companies.


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