Cost of AIDS drug slashed in Brazil
The Swiss pharmaceutical giant Hoffman-La Roche has agreed to reduce the price of its AIDS drug, Viracept, by 40% after pressure from the Brazilian government. The agreement comes after the government said that it would declare AIDS a “national emergency,” triggering a law that would allow domestic production of cheaper, generic versions of drugs when the government judges that a manufacturer's prices are unobtainable.
Viracept, known generically as nelfinavir, is one of about a dozen drugs that make up the drug cocktail that patients with AIDS take to try to control the disease. Its price would fall from US$1.07 (26p) to 64 cents a pill, saving Brazil $35.4m a year. The $88mspenton nelfinavir every year accounts for 29% of Brazil's $303m anti-AIDS budget and the annual number of deaths from AIDS has fallen from 11 024 to 4136 in four years.
If Brazil had carried out its threat to ignore