Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
GlaxoSmithKline To Further Reduce Prices of HIV/AIDS Medications in Developing Nations
GlaxoSmithKline announced yesterday that it will further reduce the cost of its HIV/AIDS medications in developing countries by up to 33%, the Wall Street Journal reports. The move is the "latest response to the public outcry over the lack of cheap, life-saving drugs" for developing nations, according to the Journal (Naik, Wall Street Journal, 9/6). GSK, the largest producer of HIV/AIDS medications worldwide, two years ago joined with other drug companies to offer HIV/AIDS treatments to developing nations at "preferential" rates. According to Reuters, the company decided to further reduce the cost of the medications based on a review of manufacturing costs and on increased economies of sale (Reuters, 9/5). "We are today delivering on our commitment to review prices for these essential medicines for patients in 63 of the world's poorest countries," GSK CEO Jean-Pierre Garnier said, adding, "We are also expanding our existing initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa to find appropriate ways to offer not-for-profit prices to core public employees such as teachers, nurses, police and firefighters not covered by health insurance, and to private employers who do not have their own workplace clinics." According to GSK, the price reductions are part of the company's efforts to "improve health care in the developing world through preferential pricing, community investment, and research and development of medicines and vaccines for developing world diseases." The new cost of GSK's HIV/AIDS medications in qualifying countries will range from 64 cents per day for Epivir to $8.50 per day for Agenerase (GlaxoSmithKline release, 9/5). GSK also said that it was seeking regulatory approval for packaging to differentiate the reduced-cost medications from the regularly priced medications in order to prevent reimportation into the West (Wall Street Journal, 9/6).
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