Brazil Is Back to Square One on Its Dispute with AIDS Drug Maker Abbott

The expensive prices of the HIV/AIDS drugs charged by international laboratories may jeopardize the sustainability of the Brazilian government’s program of universal drug access treatment.

According to Pedro Chequer, director of the Health Ministry’s DST/AIDS Program, the Ministry’s annual per patient expenses for AIDS victims have risen from US$ 1600 in 2001 to US$ 2500 this year.


According to Chequer, if the demand remains the same, the program may face problems four or five years from now.


“Brazil must continue to negotiate with the foreign laboratories that own the patent rights, to manage a price reduction,” he said.


Chequer approves the decision of the new Minister of Health, José Saraiva Felipe, who, right after he took office, reopened negotiations with Abbott Laboratories, owner of the Kaletra (Ritonair/Lopinavir) patent.


“Abbot’s proposal doesn’t interest us. They should present another proposal that has to do with the real necessities and interests of the country.”


According to Chequer, the agreement made by the former Minister, Humberto Costa, despite reducing the prices of Kaletra and giving up the (voluntary licensing) patent-breaking request, is still insatisfactory.


He said that the agreement stipulates that Brazil can buy the drug for US$ 0.99 next year, while the Farmanginhos State Laboratory can manufacture Kalestra for US$ 0.40.


Agência Brasil

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