AIDS Drug Will Be Offered in Poor Countries at Cost

Foster City, Calif.-based Gilead Sciences Inc. says it will begin offering its AIDS drug Viread at cost to 68 of the world's poorest countries. The drug maker will offer Viread to "qualified" nations throughout Africa, as well as to 15 other poor countries, for $1.30 per once-daily pill, or $475 a year. A year's supply of Viread in the United States costs roughly $4,300. Gilead said the lower price covers only its cost of manufacturing the drug and overseeing distribution. While clinics that wish to receive Viread must be accredited AIDS care facilities, they will not have to work through local governments to participate. AIDS activists called the program a welcome step but noted that, like other AIDS drug access plans in developing countries, it still falls short of the steps necessary to ensure that million of AIDS patients receive the treatment they need.

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