Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
IBD Interviews Patent Lawyer on AIDS Drug Price Dispute Between Brazil, Abbott Laboratories
Investor's Business Daily on Monday included an interview with patent attorney Ed Remus about the ongoing negotiations between Brazil and Abbott Laboratories to lower the price of the company's antiretroviral drug Kaletra in the country. Remus, a senior partner at McAndrews, Held & Malloy in Chicago, said Brazil "could very easily copy Kaletra and other HIV drugs" because the country has "well-established pharmaceutical houses fully capable of making efficacious, quality drugs." He added that although the Brazilian government just wants a "good deal" on Kaletra, eventually the country will "push the wrong company the wrong way, and that company will pressure American diplomats to bring up the problem before the World Trade Organization" (Lau, Investor's Business Daily, 8/8). The Brazilian government in June announced that it would break Abbott's patent on Kaletra unless the company lowered the drug's price 42% to 68 cents per pill from its current price of $1.17 per pill. Abbott and Brazil's Ministry of Health in early July had announced that they had reached an agreement under which Abbott would have kept the government's annual expenses on Kaletra at current levels for the next six years and Brazil would have agreed not to break Abbott's patent by producing a generic version of the drug. However, Brazilian Health Minister Jose Saraiva Felipe, who took office on July 8, later announced that no official agreement had been reached (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/5).
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