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Kaletra price cut for Brazilian government

US-based pharmaceutical company Abbott has reduced the price of its anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) paid by the government by some 29.5 per cent in 2007 to USD 0.73

US-based pharmaceutical company Abbott has reduced the price of its anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) paid by the government by some 29.5 per cent in 2007 to USD 0.73.

Jose Gomes Temporao, Brazil's health minister, confirmed that the price will fall to USD 0.68 in 2008. The country is expected to save USD 11.4m from the revised pricing scheme and the cost of the drug per patient should drop to around USD 1,000 annually.

Kaletra prescriptions in Brazil number approximately 32,000 under the government's free AIDS programme. Merck's Sustiva (efavirenz) comes a close second in terms of annual costs.

Abbott's cooperation with Brazil came about when the government there threatened to compulsorily license Abbott's drug in 2005, although a compromise price was later settled.

Both Abbott and Merck have created specific pricing models for their ARV drugs in developing countries, but the Brazilian government has only accepted the former's model. Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) recently agreed a new pricing system there.

Brazil and Thailand have both intimated that they might extend their compulsory licensing policy to drugs other than ARVs. Bloomberg analysts have said that the government will negotiate cancer medicine prices with Swiss pharmaceutical company ovartis, regarding Gleevec (imatinib), which was recently at the centre of patent disputes in India.

11th July 2007

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