US AIDS Foundation Applauds Brazil for Defeating Abbott on AIDS Drug

Abbott's Kaletra AIDS drug US-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the American largest HIV/AIDS healthcare, prevention and education provider, which operates free AIDS treatment clinics in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and Asia, today lauded the government of Brazil for successfully negotiating a price cut of 30% on Abbott Laboratories' Kaletra, with two drug AIDS drug combination including Lopinavir and Ritonavir.

Brazil has pressed for discount prices on AIDS drugs to limit the cost of its program providing free treatment to all 200,000 people infected with AIDS and the HIV virus.

The agreement extends to Brazil the same price structure Abbott has offered 44 other countries considered low and low-middle income, and it replaces a deal signed in 2005 when it lowered the price of the previous version of Kaletra by 46 percent in Brazil after the government threatened to break its patent.

"We commend the Government of Brazil for successfully negotiating this additional and significant price cut on a more patient-friendly version of Abbott's AIDS combination treatment, Kaletra," said Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation's President.

"However, this 30% price reduction on top of Brazil's previously-negotiated 46% price discount underscores to anyone who understands the most basic of mathematics just how random and arbitrary AIDS drug pricing by multi-national drug companies can be.

"Abbott has been the pharmaceutical industry's poster child for bad behavior of late – they've blacklisted Thailand from any of its new drugs, sued the advocacy group, ACT Up Paris, and run rampant over a number of other recent drug access issues put forth by a number of advocacy groups.

"A 76% reduction on this lifesaving combination may seem significant for Brazil, but we still believe Abbott – like most pharmaceutical companies – can do far, far more to improve pricing and access to their lifesaving AIDS drugs around the world."

Kaletra is a protease inhibitor that blocks an enzyme involved in the HIV virus's replication, slowing its progression. It's commonly used in combination with other drugs. It's the second most-used drug on Brazil's AIDS cocktail. In Brazil, about 31,000 adults and 1,200 children use it daily.

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