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Tue 1 May 2007 12:00 AM

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Abbott drops price of its anti-AIDS medicines

Abbott has agreed to supply Kaletra/Aluvia to around 40 low and low-middle income countries for around $1,000 per patient per year.

Abbott has agreed to supply Kaletra/Aluvia to around 40 low and low-middle income countries for around $1,000 per patient per year. The figure, agreed in negotiations with the World Health Organisation, is around 55% below the current price for these countries.

Kaletra/Aluvia (lopinavir/ritonavir) capsules and tablets are used in the treatment of HIV and AIDS. According to Abbott, the price reduction will apply to countries where its patents ‘are respected'.

In a statement, the company said: "Abbott is taking this action in order to further increase access and address the debate around pricing of HIV medicines: by increasing affordability while preserving the system that enables the discovery of new medicines.

"The patents of scientists and inventors must exist so that there are incentives for sustained research and development. Without this system, the miracle drugs the world enjoys today, including HIV medicines, would not exist."

The World Health Organisation welcomed Abbott's move in an official statement. "[The] number of people being treated with antiretroviral therapy (ART) continues to grow in low and middle income countries. This trend is also resulting in a growing number of people who require access to "second-line" ART, as they develop resistance to "first-line" treatments. In this context, WHO welcomes the decision of Abbott Laboratories to significantly reduce the price of lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r, marketed as Kaletra/Aluvia). LPV/r is considered particularly effective as second-line ART, and the demand for it has been growing."

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