Vietnamese Company Producing Reduced-Cost Antiretroviral Drug
A Vietnamese company working in conjunction with that nation's government is producing Lamzidivir, a lower-cost antiretroviral drug that is similar to Combivir, which combines lamivudine and zidovudine into one pill and is patented by GlaxoSmithKline, AP/Yahoo! News reports. The combination tablet, which is being manufactured with raw ingredients purchased from companies in India and South Korea, will cost about $1,850 per person per year, about one-quarter to one-sixth of the previous price. Although the drug is meant to be "more affordable," the price remains too high for many HIV-positive Vietnamese people, AP/Yahoo! News reports. Three other companies have been licensed by the government to produce lower-cost versions of AIDS drugs, and the government hopes prices will drop further once those firms begin producing the drugs. Government officials said they are not violating any patent agreements on lamivudine and zidovudine because they are producing the tablets from materials manufactured abroad. According to AP/Yahoo! News, a total of 52,434 Vietnamese people are known to be HIV-positive and more than 1,000 additional people test positive for the virus each month (AP/Yahoo! News, 8/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.