HIV/AIDS Group Calls on Indian Generic Drug Makers To Reduce Cost of Second-Line Antiretrovirals
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation on Thursday called on Indian generic drug manufacturers to reduce the cost of their second-line antiretroviral drugs in the country, the Press Trust of India reports. According to the Press Trust of India, nearly 5,000 to 6,000 HIV-positive people in the country who have developed resistance to first-line antiretrovirals depend on second-line drugs.
Chinkholal Thangsing, a physician from India who serves as AHF's Asia-Pacific bureau chief, said, "Second-line antiretroviral drugs are critical to treat HIV-positive people who become resistant to first-line treatment, hence we appeal to generic drug makers to reduce their profit margins on these drugs and check their prices." He added that India's National AIDS Control Organization provides access only to first-line treatment in its 127 clinics and has not begun providing access to second-line drugs. Thangsing called on generic drug maker Cipla to reduce the cost of its second-line antiretrovirals in India, saying that the company has inflated prices for such drugs in the country. He said that in Africa, Cipla's second-line drugs cost 21,200 rupees, or about $523, per person annually, but in India, the drugs can cost as much as 54,000 rupees, or about $1,300, per person annually. Aman Lulla, managing director for Cipla, said that the company has never sold its second-line antiretroviral Viraday in Africa and that other antiretrovirals sold there are priced the same as in India (Press Trust of India, 8/9).