Merck to ‘Immediately’ Cut Prices on Two AIDS Drugs in China
Pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck & Co. has announced it will "immediately" cut the wholesale prices of two of its AIDS drugs in China, the Asian Wall Street Journal reports. The Chinese government, which is "only starting to face up to its burgeoning [AIDS] epidemic," has been "less aggressive" than other developing nations such as Brazil and South Africa in demanding increased accessibility to AIDS drugs, the Journal says. A year's supply of the two AIDS medications Crixivan and Stocrin (known as Sustiva in the United States) -- which at full price are out of reach for many of China's estimated one million HIV-positive citizens -- will now cost approximately $3,500, down from about $10,000 per year. Merck's announcement follows recent talks between drug companies and the Chinese government. "Our goal is to spur efforts to accelerate access to these life-saving medications in China, where the HIV/AIDS epidemic will become a widespread and devastating toll on the lives of those living with HIV, their families and their communities," Douglas Cheung, managing director of China's Merck Sharp & Dohme (China) Ltd., said. (Chang, Asian Wall Street Journal, 12/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.