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Abbott to Subsidize Price of HIV Drug

The US-based pharmaceutical multi-national, the Abbott, has agreed to lower the prices of Kaletra/Aluvia in low and low-middle income countries to one thousand// US dollars, on a request from the World Health Organization’s Director-General Margaret Chan.

Kaletra is indicated for the treatment of HIV-1 infected adults and children above the age of 2 years, in combination with other antiretroviral agents. It is in a category of HIV medicines called protease inhibitors (PIs).

Protease is a chemical, known as an enzyme that HIV needs in order to make new viruses. Protease inhibitors (PIs) block the protease enzyme. When protease is blocked, HIV makes copies of itself that cannot infect new cells.

Kaletra is actually two drugs combined into a single capsule: lopinavir and low doses of ritonavir, another protease inhibitor manufactured by Abbott Laboratories.

In some parts of the world, these Kaletra tablets are sold under the brand name Aluvia.

To meet the needs of countries committed to expanding HIV/AIDS treatment, Abbott will offer the governments of more than 40 low and low-middle income countries (as defined by World Bank criteria) and NGOs a new price of $1,000 per patient per year.

This price is lower than any generic price available in the world today for this medicine and is approximately 55 percent less than the average current price for these countries, the press release states.

Abbott will immediately begin discussions with individual countries where Abbott's patents are respected to maximize the number of patients that can be provided Kaletra/Aluvia capsules and tablets at this new price.

At the same time the Abbott affirmed that the patents of scientists and inventors must exist so that there were incentives for sustained research and development. Without this system, the miracle drugs the world enjoys today, including HIV medicines, would not exist, it said.

Specifically, with regard to Thailand, Abbott appreciated and fully respected the suggestion of Director-General Chan that more work needed to be done with the government of Thailand to achieve a positive outcome. Meanwhile, Kaletra capsules would be in Thailand and eligible for the new price.

Today, Kaletra capsules are registered in 118 countries.

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