Chinese Domestically Produced Antiretroviral Drug Estimated To Cost $300 Per Patient Per Year
China's domestically produced version of GlaxoSmithKline's antiretroviral drug zidovudine has been priced at approximately $305 per patient per year, according to sources from the State Drug Administration of China, Xinhua Financial Network News reports. According to the sources, the price is "only an estimate" provided by domestic pharmaceutical companies and has yet to be approved by China's price administration bureau (Xinhua Financial Network News, 3/28). The price of the drug, known as Kedu, is estimated to be too expensive for most HIV-positive Chinese people. Kedu went on sale in tablet and capsule forms in September 2002 after Northeast China Pharmaceuticals Group Company received marketing permission from the State Drug Administration for the drug, whose patent protection expired in 2001 in China (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/4/02). The launch of the drug, which is also manufactured by Shanghai Desano BioPharmaceutical Co., marked the end of the "country's dependence on imports," according to Xinhua. According to sources from the drug administration, China plans to allow more domestic manufacturers to produce antiretroviral drugs, allowing more than two companies at a time to produce each drug (Xinhua Financial Network News, 3/28). The United Nations in June 2002 issued a report stating that China's AIDS epidemic was on the verge of catastrophe unless the government acts immediately to stem the spread of the virus (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/28/02). Current Health Ministry statistics estimate that as many as one million people in China were HIV-positive by the end of 2002 (Xinhua Financial Network News, 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.