Glaxo cuts price of AIDS drugs for developing nations

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com April 29 2003 12:00 AM ET

GlaxoSmithKline announced Monday that it is cutting the price of its anti-HIV medications by as much as 47% for 63 developing nations, a move that led the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to drop its lawsuit against the drugmaker, The New York Times reports. The company said it would reduce the cost of Combivir from $1.70 per day to 90 cents per day. The cost of Epivir (3TC) will be cut from 64 cents to 35 cents per day, while the drug Retrovir (AZT) will be reduced form $1.20 to 75 cents per day. The price cuts will be available in all sub-Saharan African nations. Glaxo officials say the price cuts will make the medications comparable in price to generic versions of the same drugs. The reduced-cost medications will be available to nonprofit groups, governments, aid agencies, and companies that provide anti-HIV medications to their employees. Company officials say the price cuts were possible because of improvements in the manufacturing process as well as negotiations for price cuts with the supplies of the raw materials used to make the medications.
The price reductions come less than two weeks after the California Public Employees Retirement System, which holds about $760 million in Glaxo stock, sent a letter to the drugmaker urging the company to make its drugs more affordable in developing nations. A group of European investment managers made a similar request in March. Additionally, Los Angeles-based AHF had filed a lawsuit against Glaxo that alleged the company engaged in false advertising by claiming that it offered its drugs at cost in developing nations when the company was actually making money on the medications. AHF announced Monday it will drop the lawsuit as a result of the price reductions announced by Glaxo. "We congratulate GlaxoSmithKline on their humanitarian action today to significantly lower the preferential prices on their AIDS drugs for the world's poorest nations," AHF president Michael Weinstein said in a statement.