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GSK Reneges on Lower AIDS Drug Prices for Africa




 

Widespread Price Discrepancies Prevent Ugandans' Access to Life-Saving ARVS: Uganda to Pay Almost $48USD Per Month for Key GSK Drug Combivir, While South Africa Pays Only $27USD. British Drug Giant's Pricing Policies Limit Drug Access in African Country Poised to Continue as Leader in Fight Against AIDS.

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Just a few short months after GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) garnered international headlines announcing price cuts of up to 40 percent for their life-saving HIV/AIDS drugs for the developing world, the British drug giant appears to now be reneging on components of their commitment to reduce these prices in certain African countries. In addition, the Republic of Uganda -- a recognized leader in the fight against AIDS and one of the African country most ready to scale up delivery of anti-retroviral treatment to its citizens who are dying from HIV/AIDS -- has been told by GSK officials it must first purchase the existing stock of GSK's HIV/AIDS drugs in Uganda at the previous -- and higher -- prices before being able to take advantage of GSK's new, so-called preferential pricing for developing world countries.

"GSK is reneging on its commitment to lower AIDS drug prices in Africa and many people with AIDS who can't get these life-saving drugs because of GSK's pricing policies will die," said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the largest AIDS organization in the US and operator of free AIDS treatment clinics in the US, Uganda, South Africa, and Honduras. "After AIDS advocates spoke out previously, GSK streamlined a then 25 page application that NGOs and governments in the developing world had to complete in order to even purchase any GSK's drugs. Now, we urge GSK to revisit and change their pricing policies to ensure that counties like Uganda that are primed to scale up ARV treatment throughout the country will not be thwarted by seemingly arbitrary pricing decisions and red tape."

Among the price cuts announced earlier this year by GSK for developing world countries was the price of Combivir, one of GSK's best-selling HIV medications and one that combines two HIV medications into one tablet. The current reduced preferential price for Combivir in South Africa is approximately $27 USD for a packet of 60 tablets (a one month, twice daily supply); in Uganda -- a country that may be better poised to actually implement widespread use of ARV therapy -- the same Combivir packet of 60 tablets costs the equivalent of $48 USD (Pound Sterling 32.61 as of August 2003)

"In terms of both a business model and humanitarian goodwill, there appears to be no real rhyme or reason to GSK's pricing," added AHF's Weinstein. "We are asking GSK to cut through the bureaucracy and make these drugs truly available and affordable in Africa and the developing world."

SOURCE AIDS Healthcare Foundation



 


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Information in this article was accurate in September 15, 2003. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.