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
"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