Medicines campaigners target Abbott over the high price of its Aids drug, Kaletra. Meanwhile an independent but GAVI-funded study shows the roll-out of pneumococcal vaccine it is supporting is cost-effective.

This article titled “Unprecedented global campaign launches against pharma company” was written by Sarah Boseley, for on Thursday 10th November 2011 19.13 UTC

The multinational drug company Abbott is being targeted by health campaigners in a number of countries in a concerted campaign to try to break its monopoly on a valuable Aids drug called Kaletra.

Kaletra, also known as Aluvia, is a combination of two drugs, lopinavir and ritonavir, the latter of which was developed partly with funding from the US government, the campaigners point out. Yet this combination treatment, which is becoming increasingly important in the developing world as resistance to first-line drugs grows, is under patent to Abbott and disproportionately expensive. The price of basic Aids drugs has been driven down from $10,000 per patient per year to $100 through generic competition. But Abbott has not allowed very cheap generic copies to be made and charges the poorest countries in the world $400 – while middle-income developing countries have to pay between $1000 and $4000.

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