International News

Glaxo Will Further Cut Prices of AIDS Drugs to Poor Nations

April 28, 2003

GlaxoSmithKline plans to announce today that it is further cutting the prices of its AIDS drugs by as much as half in poor countries. The price of Combivir, the company's popular AIDS therapy that combines the AIDS drugs Epivir and Retrovir in a single pill, has been cut to 90 cents a day from $1.70, a reduction of 47 percent, the company said. The reduction makes the price of Combivir in developing countries roughly equivalent to some generic versions of AIDS drugs, Glaxo said. The price of Combivir in the United States is about $18 a day.

GlaxoSmithKline also said it was reducing the price of its other drugs to treat HIV/AIDS, including AZT, which would be available for 75 cents a day. The prices are available to qualified customers in 63 countries, including all of sub-Saharan Africa.

In cutting these prices, Glaxo CEO Jean-Pierre Garnier said the company is making good on a two-year-old commitment to provide AIDS drugs to impoverished countries at no profit. Last September, the company reduced prices to poor countries by as much as a third. Last year, Glaxo supplied nearly 6 million tablets of Combivir to developing countries, the company said, up from about 2 million tablets in 2001.

Glaxo said it is able to reduce the drugs' prices because it is making them less expensively, the result of improved manufacturing techniques and deals it has struck with some of the suppliers of raw materials that go into the medicines. Drug companies have come under intense pressure to lower the cost of these drugs so patients in poor countries can get them, and Glaxo has come under particular criticism because of its size in the market.

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Adapted from:
New York Times
04.28.03; Reed Abelson

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.


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