Sanders bill aims to lower HIV drug costs

The bill, S. 1138, would use patents awarded to new HIV and AIDS drugs to qualify drug makers for federally-funded monetary rewards.

The rewards are designed to replace the profits drug makers would otherwise make during their monopoly periods, Sanders said.

Panelists in a hearing Tuesday estimated that the measure would reduce the price of antiretroviral drugs by 90 percent or more.

"The bottom line is that the goal of our laws and policies for medicines must be to develop drugs as quickly as possible … and to get them out to every person who needs them as soon as possible," Sanders said.

By reducing the costs of antiretrovirals, the measure would also save federal and state health programs money, Sanders's office said.

Haley Muse contributed. 

—This post was updated at 4:19 p.m.