Abbott To Reduce Cost Of Antiretroviral Kaletra By 30%

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Abbott Laboratorieshas agreed to reduce the cost of its antiretroviral drug Kaletra inBrazil by about 30%, Brazilian Health Minister Jose Gomes Temporaoannounced on Wednesday, Bloomberg reports (Cortes, Bloomberg,7/4). The agreement between the company and the government wasannounced after Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in May issued a compulsory license to produce a lower-cost, generic version of Merck's antiretroviral Efavirenz, Reuters reports. The price reduction is part of Abbott's plan to lower drug costs in developing nations, according to Reuters (Reuters, 7/4).

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Abbottin April said that it plans to reduce the cost of Kaletra in more than40 low- and middle-income countries. Abbott said it will provideKaletra in the countries for $1,000 per patient annually, which is lessthan the cost of generic versions of the drug, instead of the currentprice of $2,200. Kaletra costs more than $7,500 per patient annually inthe U.S., and Abbott provides the drug at a cost of $500 per patientannually in 69 of the poorest developing countries, including all ofAfrica (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/11).

Accordingto Temporao, the company will reduce the price of Kaletra from $1.04per dose to 73 cents per dose this year and 68 cents per dose in 2008 (Reuters, 7/4). The government expects the agreement to lower its drug costs by as much as $11.4 million this year, Bloomberg reports. Brazil also is holding talks with Novartis and Bristol-Myers Squibb to negotiate lower prices for their antiretrovirals, Temporao said.

HeatherMason, vice president for Abbott's Latin American and Canadianoperations, said that the "company managed to set a comprehensive worldstrategy for HIV that recognizes the differences of economic levels ofthe countries." She added, "This price point still allows us to investas an innovator company and researcher in the development of drugs" (Bloomberg,7/4). According to Mason, the reduced price "makes it easier for thegovernment of Brazil to afford medicine that a growing number of itspeople will need" (Radowitz, Dow Jones/CNNMoney.com,7/4). Temporao said that Abbott "created a positive atmosphere ofdiscussion and cooperation with the government, which allowed us toreach an agreement." He added that other drug companies should "followAbbott's example" (Bloomberg, 7/4). Brazil will begin offering Kaletra to about 32,000 people in September, Reuters reports. According to Mason, the new version of Kaletra will not require refrigeration (Reuters, 7/4).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyHIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . TheKaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service ofThe Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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