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Viread To Retail In India For $1

The largest-selling HIV/AIDS drug, Viread is to be made available in India at the special price of $1 (Rs 45) per tablet, according to the manufacturer Gilead.// This announcement was made on Sunday.

Gilead has already entered into generic licensing deals with three Indian pharma majors - Emcure Pharmaceuticals, Hetero Drugs and Strides Arcolab - for the drug. The Indian firms will make generic versions of Viread and distribute it to 95 low-income countries around the world in a couple of months.

"Our endeavour is to provide the widest possible access to our drugs for HIV/AIDS patients. Gilead has devised a tiered product pricing based on a country's economic status and HIV prevalence," Gilead's senior vice-president Gregg Alton told IANS from San Jose, California.

More than 5.1 million people are believed to be infected with the HIV virus in India - the second largest number of infected people after South Africa.

"Viread will be available at $365 per year in India. For African countries where the economic status is lower, we have priced the drug at $203 per year, making it close to 37 cents a day for patients," he said.

There has been much speculation in recent months with claims that Viread had been overpriced, selling at $5,700 in the developed world.

Alton said, "That pricing information is inaccurate, while we have the right o protect our intellectual property in developed markets, our tiered pricingfor countries like India and Thailand will ensure that Viread will o well and provide better health status for patients."

Compared with generic versions currently available from pharma major Cipla, priced at over $1,200 per year, the new pricing is bound to come as a relief.

Viread (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) is on its way to becoming the frontrunner drug across Europe for HIV/AIDS due to its low toxicity and resistance levels observed in patients. The tablet-a-day do
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