Abbott Offers To Sell New Antiretroviral Drug Aluvia in Thailand at Discounted Price
Pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories has offered to sell its antiretroviral drug Aluvia in Thailand at a reduced price, the company's CEO, Miles White, said recently, the Wall Street Journal reports. Aluvia is an updated version of Abbott's antiretroviral Kaletra (Zamiska/Hookway, Wall Street Journal, 4/23). Thailand's Ministry of Public Health last week announced that the country would seek to import from India a generic version of Aluvia. The announcement was made after Abbott said it would withhold the introduction of new drugs, including Aluvia, from the country, according to an unnamed source with the health ministry. The generic version of Aluvia costs about 4,000 baht, or $124, monthly, but generic drug makers could reduce the price to less than 2,000 baht, or $62, monthly to compete with the previous price of Kaletra offered by Abbott, according to Virat Poorahong, head of the Thai Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/19). Abbott spokesperson Jennifer Smoter said that Thai health ministry officials are considering the offer but that a final agreement has not been reached. "In this particular case, in the name of access for patients, we offered to resubmit Aluvia at our new price, which is lower than any generic, provided they wouldn't issue a compulsory license," White said. He added that the initial decision was prompted by "concerns that compulsory licensing would be abused ever-more widely, using HIV as an excuse," the Journal reports. According to the Journal, Thai officials could proceed with their plan to import generic versions of Aluvia, which the country currently is doing with generic versions of Merck's antiretroviral Efavirenz, despite the company's offer to reduce the drug's cost. Abbott's decision to reduce the cost of Aluvia does not affect its suspension of six other drugs from the Thai market, the Journal reports (Wall Street Journal, 4/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.