Abbott Laboratories vowed to increase access to its mainstay HIV drug Kaletra in the developing world by expanding the number of countries that can get access to it at a discount.
Abbott already supplies Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir), one of the cornerstones of second-line HIV/AIDS treatment, at a price of $500 per patient per year to 69 of the world’s poorest nations, a steep discount on the $7,500 charged for the drug in the developed world.
Now, the company has decided to add a further 45 countries to its access programme, which will be charged a mid-range price of $2,200. Previously, Kaletra had been available in these low- and low-middle-income countries – which include India, China and Pakistan – for between $3,300 and $5,000.
Abbott also said it working on registering its new Aluvia formulation of the drug combination, which required fewer tablets per day and does not require refrigeration, “as broadly in the developing world as Kaletra,” as well as a new paediatric formulation of the treatment. It is also hiking its manufacturing capacity to meet the expected increased demand for second-line HIV therapies.
The move comes after criticism of Abbott and other drugmakers over their pricing of HIV drugs in the developing world. For example, last October the Brazilian government threatened to break the patent on Kaletra and start making its own supplies unless Abbott reduced its price.