Merck To Register, Lower Cost of Antiretroviral Atripla in Developing Countries
Pharmaceutical company Merck on Friday said that it will begin registering the antiretroviral drug Atripla in developing countries and that it will lower the cost of the drug in countries with high HIV prevalence, the Bergen Record reports. According to the Record, Merck announced that through the first half of 2007, Atripla will be registered in 45 countries in the Middle East and Africa and in nine countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia. Registration of the drug began in November 2006 in Ethiopia, according to a Merck statement. The company also announced that Atripla will be priced on a sliding scale based on each country's wealth. The drug will cost $1.68 per tablet in countries with an HIV prevalence of more than 1%, and it will cost $2.83 per tablet in the 22 wealthier countries that have a lower HIV prevalence, according to the Record. Atripla, which was approved by FDA in July 2006, combines Bristol-Myers Squibb's Sustiva and Gilead's Truvada into a single pill. Merck and Gilead in August 2006 agreed to partner to make the drug more widely available in developing countries. Under the partnership, Merck will handle distribution of Atripla, and Gilead will deal with manufacturing (Prial, Bergen Record, 2/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.