GSK To Reduce Cost of 14 Antiretrovirals Sold in Developing NationsGlaxoSmithKline on Tuesday announced that it is reducing by an average of 21% the cost of 14 of its antiretroviral drugs currently sold at not-for-profit prices in developing countries, the Wall Street Journal reports (Whalen, Wall Street Journal, 2/19).
The company in a statement said the most significant decrease is an almost 40% price reduction of its antiretroviral Ziagen. Ziagen has been recommended by the World Health Organization as a first- and second-line treatment, particularly among children (Kahn, Reuters, 2/19). The antiretroviral will cost about $15 per pack, or about 50 cents daily, GSK said. The company also announced that its most expensive antiretroviral, Lexiva, will be reduced by 20% to $3.35 daily. According to the Journal, GSK sells antiretrovirals at cost in 64 developing countries. The company said improvements in manufacturing and the availability of less expensive raw ingredients have allowed it to lower the prices (Wall Street Journal, 2/19).
GSK said the price reductions "will take effect immediately for public sector customers and not-for-profit organizations in the least developed countries and sub-Saharan Africa," as well as other eligible countries (Reuters, 2/19).
GSK CEO Jean-Pierre Garnier has said that he "always wanted to have access [to drugs] as part of the DNA of the company." He added, "I never wanted to just close my eyes to the fact that 80% of the population won't be able to afford the drugs. Because that's that truth -- 80% of the market of pharmaceuticals comes from 20% of the worldwide population" (Wall Street Journal, 2/19). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.