Issue Date: April 16, 2007
Abbott Drops AIDS Drug Price
Abbott Laboratories will drop its price for Kaletra, a protease inhibitor used to treat AIDS, to the equivalent of $1,000 per patient per year in 40 developing countries. The move, facilitated by the World Health Organization, is apparently Abbott's response to a decision by Thailand earlier this year to resort to the compulsory licensing of Kaletra, a practice that reduces health care costs in a way that drug companies view as patent infringement (C&EN, Feb. 5, page 11). Following Thailand's decision, Abbott announced that it would stop selling Kaletra and other patented drugs in Thailand, a move that the nongovernmental organization Doctors Without Borders called "a major betrayal of patients." Abbott had already been under fire for not supplying Kaletra to several other low-income countries. The price of $1,000 per year per patient, Abbott says, is 55% less than the average price at which the drug is now sold in the 40 countries. The company says it wants to increase drug affordability while "preserving the system that enables the discovery of new medicines."
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