Brazil successfully hardballs Abbott on AIDs drug

I mentioned in May that Brazil had introduced compulsory licensing on a Merck AIDs drug Efavirenz, and heartily recommended that Brazil and other third world countries continue to play hardball with big pharma whenever they could. It looks like Merck decided to not bargain, but Abbott did on Kaletra. Note that Abbott got into a similar controversy with Thailand, and agreed to drop the price when Thailand rejected the Kaletra patent.

Keep it coming, third world countries. Bargaining is perfectly acceptable in the marketplace!

Brazil says Abbott to cut price of AIDS drug | Health | Reuters

razil’s health ministry said Wednesday that Abbott Laboratories Inc. agreed to cut the price of its Kaletra AIDS drug by 29.5 percent.

The lower price for the drug, also known as lopinavir and ritonavir, will help Brazil supply free drugs for its AIDS treatment program.

In May, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva authorized Brazil for the first time to break the patent on an AIDS drug, one made by Merck & Co.. It then started importing a generic version of the drug Efavirenz from India.

Under WTO rules, countries can issue a “compulsory license” to manufacture or buy generic versions of patented drugs deemed critical to public health.

Drug makers often reduce prices to keep countries as clients and avoid compulsory licenses.

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