Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Abbott Announces Further Price Reductions for Its Antiretroviral Drugs in Africa
Abbott Laboratories on Friday announced that it would further reduce the prices of its AIDS treatments in African countries, the Chicago Tribune reports (Japsen, Chicago Tribune, 4/27). The drug maker last year began offering its two protease inhibitors, Norvir and Kaletra, in sub-Saharan Africa at about 90% below the price that U.S. patients pay (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/27/01). While the two protease inhibitors cost about $7,000 each per patient in the United States, they are available in Africa for about $650 each. Abbott CEO Mike White declined to comment on how much further the prices would be cut or when the reductions would be implemented, the Tribune reports. Abbott and other pharmaceutical companies lowered their prices last year after an "international uproar" over the costs of AIDS treatments. Despite those price reductions, critics still say that drug companies are not doing enough to educate people in sub-Saharan Africa or provide necessary treatments. Sister Doris Gormley of the Jesuit National Ministries, a member of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, said, "We believe Abbott needs to do more. Availability is not accessibility." However, White said that "free drugs would not be enough to solve the problem," with most African countries lacking the necessary infrastructure to deliver the drugs "safely and effectively." White added, "This is much more complicated that just drugs. This is a massive, massive problem" (Chicago Tribune, 4/27).
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.