Merck Offers Discounted AIDS Drugs to Brazil
Representatives from Merck & Co. met with Brazilian officials yesterday to work out a proposal that would offer the country discounts on Merck's AIDS drugs Strocrin and Crixivan, the Wall Street Journal reports (Jordan, Wall Street Journal, 3/29). Earlier this month, Merck offered developing nations "deep discounts" on the drugs, proposing to sell Crixivan at $600 per patient per year and Stocrin at $500 per patient per year. The company did not extend this offer to Brazil, however, stating that it was trying to "negotiate" a different price with the Brazilian government ( Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/9). Neither Merck nor Brazilian officials have disclosed the company's latest prices, but Merck officials have said that the prices for Brazil will not be as low as those originally offered to Africa and other developing nations. Brazilian officials have asked for two days to review the proposal, a "sign that there could be progress" in the negotiations, the Journal reports. According to the Journal, Merck's move represents an effort to prevent Brazil from developing and producing its own generic version of Stocrin, called efavirenz. But a Brazilian health ministry official said yesterday, "Brazil will continue to try to develop efavirenz locally. That's the only way we can be sure we're being charged a fair price for it" (Wall Street Journal, 3/29). Earlier this month, Merck "threatened" to take legal action against a Brazilian government-sponsored lab over its importation and research of efavirenz ( Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/28).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.