Price tag for HIV meds: $620,000

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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Today is World AIDS Day. 25 years after first emerging it continues to kill millions around the world. Now it's possible to live for decades with the disease, but treatment is expensive. Jason Paur explains why.


JASON PAUR: New research shows that HIV/AIDS patients in the U.S. can now live an average of 24 years with widely-available treatments costing $620,000 over that time.

David Bishai is associate professor at Johns Hopkins. He says those costs shouldn't drop much in the future because of the economics of battling a constantly-changing virus.

DAVID BISHAI: The rest of this century is going to require the continual production of new AIDS drugs because 30 years from now the virus will have evolved away from our current stock of weapons against it.

Bishai says some current patients need 5th generation drugs, and companies are already spending millions on research into 6th, 7th and 8th generation treatments.

I'm Jason Paur for Marketplace.

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