Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
FDA Approves New Form of Kaletra That Allows Patients To Take Fewer Pills, Does Not Require Refrigeration
FDA on Monday approved a new form of Abbott Laboratories' antiretroviral drug Kaletra that allows patients to take fewer pills and does not require refrigeration, the Wall Street Journal reports (Wall Street Journal, 11/1). Adult patients now can take four pills daily instead of six, and the new formulation can be taken with or without food. The per-dose cost of the new formulation will increase less than 10%, Abbott spokesperson Jennifer Smoter said. Kaletra brought in sales of $896 million in 2004, according to Bloomberg/Chicago Tribune. Gregg Gonsalves, director of treatment and prevention advocacy at Gay Men's Health Crisis in New York City, said the new formulation "is an advance," adding, "Economically, if Abbott uses this to jack up the price of the new formulation, we'd be very critical about this." Abbott is requesting that its patent on Kaletra be extended because of the new formulation. The current patent expires in 2015. The new tablet form will be available in the U.S. in "the next few weeks," the company said (Bloomberg/Chicago Tribune, 11/1).
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