November 12, 2007
GlaxoSmithKline recently joined a lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories over the price of Abbott's antiretroviral drug Norvir, the Wall Street Journal reports. In the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif., GSK alleges that Abbott "schemed to remove ... one of the critical components" of an antiretroviral drug combination in 2003 by increasing the price of Norvir, which has been used in combination with GSK's antiretroviral Lexiva (Carreyrou, Wall Street Journal, 11/9).
Four pharmacy chains and one pharmaceutical wholesaler in October also filed a lawsuit against Abbott over the price of Norvir. In the suit, the companies -- Safeway, Walgreen, Kroger, Supervalu's New Albertson's and American Sales -- allege that Abbott "unlawfully extended its monopoly position as the sole provider of Norvir" by increasing the drug's price.
Abbott in December 2003 quadrupled the per-patient wholesale price of Norvir, which is known generically as ritonavir. Norvir primarily is used as a booster for other protease inhibitors. Abbott exempted Medicaid, Medicare and state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs from the price increase and announced it would expand its patient assistance program. The cost of Norvir increased from $51.30 for 30 100-milligram capsules to $257.10 for 30 100-mg capsules, or by $5,000 more annually.
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2007 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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