October 12, 2005
Brazil has reached an agreement with Abbott Laboratories that will lower the price of the company's antiretroviral drug Kaletra per pill from $1.17 to 63 cents and protect the drug's patent, the Brazilian Ministry of Health said Tuesday, the AP/Boston Herald reports (AP/Boston Herald, 10/12). Under the terms of the agreement, Brazilian manufacturers will not produce a generic version of the drug domestically and Abbott will lower the price of Kaletra, which will save the government $339 million over six years (St. Paul Pioneer Press, 10/12). Abbott also agreed to donate $3 million worth of other pharmaceuticals to Brazil (Reuters/ChicagoBusiness.com, 10/11). In July, Brazil's health ministry and Abbott said they had reached an agreement for Abbott to keep the government's annual expenses on Kaletra at current levels for the next six years and that Brazil would not break Abbott's patent. However, less than a week after the agreement was announced, Brazilian Health Minister Jose Saraiva Felipe dismissed the agreement and said the country would continue to negotiate for a lower price or manufacturers would break its patent and produce the drug for 41 cents per pill (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/5). Brazil had requested a "voluntary license" from Abbott that would have transfered Kaletra's patent to the government in the future; however, Abbott did not agree to that under the deal reached on Tuesday. In the future, Abbott will make available an enhanced version of Kaletra, called Meltrex, which will be sold at a price approximately 10% higher than the Kaletra price, a health ministry spokesperson said (Jeffris/Radowitz, Dow Jones, 10/11). The deal takes effect in March 2006 (Reuters/ChicagoBusiness.com, 10/11).
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