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Abbott pharmaceuticals price gouging protease inh
      #79281 - 12/18/03 04:03 AM

Editorial, The Center for AIDS (12/15/03)

In a move that startled healthcare professionals and community members alike, Abbott pharmaceuticals announced a price increase of almost 500% for its protease inhibitor ritonavir (Norvir). Norvir is widely being used as a pharmacokinetic "booster" for other protease inhibitors, including recently approved drugs such as fosamprenavir (Lexiva) and atazanavir (Reyataz).

Boosting protease inhibitors makes them more potent, a particular consideration for treatment-experienced or "salvage" patients with few or no treatment options left. The price increase went into effect on December 3, 2003-two days after World AIDS Day. Surprisingly, the price of another Abbott drug, Kaletra (itself Norvir-boosted protease inhibitor) has stayed the same, providing an unquestionable economic advantage to choosing Kaletra over other boosted protease inhibitor regimens, which may now increase in price by as much as double. Although negotiated prices for US government AIDS Drug Assistance Programs are locked in by law into 2005, prices negotiated after that time will be subject to increases.

Indeed, Abbott has modified its patient assistance program so that patients needing Norvir can more easily get the drug. However, this does not address the more important question of what will happen if third-party insurers are faced with footing the bill for boosted regimens that are much more expense than Kaletra. This has implications for salvage therapy research as well because potential therapies that require boosting with Norvir may be abandoned. What Abbott has done is unforgivable and will go into the history of the AIDS epidemic as a repugnant commercial manipulation that unnecessarily burdens people living with HIV/AIDS, especially those with fewer treatment options who can truly benefit from boosted protease-inhibitor therapy. Physicians, researchers, government officials, and patients should be outraged by these events and should take heed of such gross opportunism tainting the very nature and purpose of healthcare.

Working with the AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition (ATAC), The Center for AIDS will fight to make sure that this unjust act is brought to the attention of both local and national officials and that Abbott regrets the day it decided to hold salvage patients hostage through selfish profiteering. Contact ATAC ( if you'd like more information or to become involved. Also, contact your elected officials to inform them of this despicable development or call the office of Abbott CEO Miles White (847-937-6100) to give Abbott your thoughts on the matter directly. Other Abbott contacts can be found at

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Re: Abbott pharmaceuticals price gouging protease inh new
      #79284 - 12/18/03 05:05 AM

Thank you for speaking out on this. The HIV/AIDS community needs to be involved in protesting this unconscionable price gouging on the part of Abbott Laboratories! I urge everyone to contact his or her elected officials, local newspapers, local TV stations, etc. This is an outrage!

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Re: Abbott pharmaceuticals price gouging protease new
      #79287 - 12/18/03 01:08 PM

Novir is an older medication. FDA approved March 1, 1996. This will be the first time ever that a huge price increase was placed on a drug that has been in circualtion for so long.

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Re: Abbott pharmaceuticals price gouging protease new
      #79312 - 12/18/03 11:20 PM

Further proof of the scumbag profiteers at Abbott Laboratories. I hope someone sues the piss out of them for this blatant unfair business practice!

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