After Abbott Laboratories announced that it would not launch new medicines in Thailand in response to the military-installed government’s decision not to honor the company’s patent for its AIDS drug, the company has now announced a new plan.

Abbott and World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Margaret Chan, have agreed on a neew approach to provide Kaletra/Aluvia (lopinavir/ritonavir) capsules and tablets to more patients in the developing world, while supporting continued long-term biopharmaceutical research and development.

Abbott will offer the governments of more than 40 low and low-middle income countries (as defined by World Bank criteria) and NGOs a new price of $1,000 per patient per year. This price is lower than any generic price available in the world today for this medicine and is approximately 55 percent less than the average current price for these countries.

Abbott will immediately begin discussions with individual countries where Abbott’s patents are respected to maximize the number of patients that can be provided Kaletra/Aluvia capsules and tablets at this new price. Abbott said it is taking this action in order to further increase access and address the debate around pricing of HIV medicines: by increasing affordability while preserving the system that enables the discovery of new medicines.

Abbott and the WHO pointed out that patents must exist so that there are incentives for sustained research and development. Without this system, new drugs, including HIV medicines, would not exist.

Specifically, with regard to Thailand, Abbott indicated that more work needs to be done with the government of Thailand to achieve a positive outcome. Meanwhile, Kaletra capsules remain available in Thailand and will be eligible for the new price.

Earlier, the Thai Ministry of Public Health announced that it would issue compulsory licenses for Kaletra and for Plavix, an anti-platelet medication that reduces the risk of unstable blood clots in people with heart disease.

Abbott had said it would not seek licenses for seven new products in Thailand, in retaliation for the Thai government’s decision to issue a compulsory license for the HIV protease inhibitor Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir).

 

 

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