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Cipla Offers Modest AIDS Drug Price Cut: 'Not Nearly Enough,' says AHF
Date:12/13/2007

NEW DELHI, Dec. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of its ongoing global campaign to lower drug prices and improve access to lifesaving HIV/AIDS treatments in India and worldwide, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today responded to a modest price cut recently offered in India by generic drug manufacturer, Cipla, on three of its antiretroviral drugs to fight HIV/AIDS. The cost reduction comes on the heels of an AHF-led advocacy campaign aimed at pressuring Cipla to lower its prices in India -- a campaign that revealed a price difference of 150% between what Cipla has offered African and Indian purchasers for the lifesaving antiretroviral combination Viraday.

"We applaud Cipla's recent price cut as a small step in the right direction. However, a price cut of 5% to 15% is nowhere near enough to make Cipla's lifesaving HIV/AIDS drugs affordable and accessible to all Indians in need," said Chinkholal Thangsing, M.D., Asia Pacific Bureau Chief for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and a medical provider based in New Delhi. "We urge Cipla to make the dramatic price cuts necessary to ensure that its own countrymen and women will benefit from the company's ability to produce cheap medicines -- just as those in Africa and other parts of the developing world have benefited."

AHF has learned that Cipla's recent price reduction was offered as a gift from Cipla to all Indian patients on the occasion of World AIDS Day. Physicians have received communication regarding the new prices, which have been available since December 1st, World AIDS Day.

The following chart details the price reduction offered in both Indian rupees and US dollars:

Cipla Drug Old Price INR (US $) New Price INR (US $)

Viraday 54000 (US $1341) 46800 (US $1163)

Efavir 28308 (US $703) 24000 (US $596)

Tenvir-EM 25200 (US $626) 24000 (US $596)

"Of the 2.5 million people now estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS in India, only around 85,000 are receiving lifesaving antiretroviral treatment," said Dr. Mahesh Ganesan, Advocacy Coordinator for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "If the average income is 29000 rupees -- which, according to the World Bank, is India's gross national income -- then whether a year's supply of medicines costs 54000 rupees a year or 46800 makes little difference, as it is still far too high and still beyond the reach of most Indians in need."

This past August, AHF and several Indian civil society partners and co- sponsors rolled out the drug pricing advocacy campaign with a print ad headlined, "Profit at What Cost? AIDS Drugs for All." The ad, which appeared in prominent Indian newspapers questioned Cipla regarding a price difference of 150% between what Cipla has offered African and Indian purchasers for the lifesaving antiretroviral combination Viraday. Cipla has yet to dispute the fact that it offers dramatically different prices to Africa than to its own fellow countrymen for this drug.

Because of questions raised by the drug-pricing advocacy campaign, Cipla is currently under investigation by the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC), India's anti-trust commission that probes monopolistic, restrictive and unfair trade practices, over its possible overpricing of Viraday.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) operates free AIDS treatment clinics in India under AHF India Cares in Mysore, New Delhi and in Guwahati, Assam in collaboration with the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO). Additionally, in the Asia/Pacific region, AHF currently provides free antiretroviral treatment to people in need through its clinics in Thailand, Viet Nam, Cambodia and China.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation is the US' largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare, research, prevention and education provider. AHF currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 61,000 individuals in 19 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and Asia. Additional information is available at http://www.aidshealth.org


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SOURCE AIDS Healthcare Foundation
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