Abbott To Reduce Cost of Antiretroviral Kaletra in Brazil by About 30%, Health Minister SaysAbbott Laboratories has agreed to reduce the cost of its antiretroviral drug Kaletra in Brazil by about 30%, Brazilian Health Minister Jose Gomes Temporao announced on Wednesday, Bloomberg reports (Cortes, Bloomberg, 7/4). The agreement between the company and the government was announced after Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in May issued a compulsory license to produce a lower-cost, generic version of Merck's antiretroviral Efavirenz, Reuters reports. The price reduction is part of Abbott's plan to lower drug costs in developing nations, according to Reuters (Reuters, 7/4).
Abbott in April said that it plans to reduce the cost of Kaletra in more than 40 low- and middle-income countries. Abbott said it will provide Kaletra in the countries for $1,000 per patient annually, which is less than the cost of generic versions of the drug, instead of the current price of $2,200. Kaletra costs more than $7,500 per patient annually in the U.S., and Abbott provides the drug at a cost of $500 per patient annually in 69 of the poorest developing countries, including all of Africa (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/11).
According to Temporao, the company will reduce the price of Kaletra from $1.04 per dose to 73 cents per dose this year and 68 cents per dose in 2008 (Reuters, 7/4). The government expects the agreement to lower its drug costs by as much as $11.4 million this year, Bloomberg reports. Brazil also is holding talks with Novartis and Bristol-Myers Squibb to negotiate lower prices for their antiretrovirals, Temporao said.
Heather Mason, vice president for Abbott's Latin American and Canadian operations, said that the "company managed to set a comprehensive world strategy for HIV that recognizes the differences of economic levels of the countries." She added, "This price point still allows us to invest as an innovator company and researcher in the development of drugs" (Bloomberg, 7/4). According to Mason, the reduced price "makes it easier for the government of Brazil to afford medicine that a growing number of its people will need" (Radowitz, Dow Jones/CNNMoney.com, 7/4). Temporao said that Abbott "created a positive atmosphere of discussion and cooperation with the government, which allowed us to reach an agreement." He added that other drug companies should "follow Abbott's example" (Bloomberg, 7/4). Brazil will begin offering Kaletra to about 32,000 people in September, Reuters reports. According to Mason, the new version of Kaletra will not require refrigeration (Reuters, 7/4). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.