Policy & Politics
NIH Hears "Sharply Differing Views" on Request to Produce Generic Version of Abbott Antiretroviral Norvir
May 26, 2004
AIDS advocates, pharmaceutical company representatives and others on Tuesday at an NIH hearing offered "sharply different views" on Essential Inventions' request to produce a generic version of Abbott Laboratories' antiretroviral drug Norvir, the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports (Schmid, AP/Las Vegas Sun, 5/25). In December 2003, Abbott increased by about 400% the per-patient wholesale price of Norvir, which is known generically as ritonavir. Norvir is used primarily as a booster for other protease inhibitors, such as Bristol-Myers Squibb's Reyataz and Merck's Crixivan. Essential Innovations, a not-for-profit organization run by consumer advocates, last month filed a request with HHS for a license to produce a generic version of the drug while it is still under patent, saying that the drug was developed using federal funding and is being sold at an unreasonably high price. According to the group, under the 1980 Bayh-Dole Act, the HHS secretary has the authority to grant licenses to other manufacturers to produce patented medicines that were developed using federal funding. In cases involving drugs that were developed with federal funding, the government reserves the right to demand reasonable prices from the drug maker (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/30). Abbott received a $3.47 million NIH grant in 1988 for early research on protease inhibitors (Richwine, Reuters, 5/25). Although the grant did not lead directly to Norvir, the team of researchers that was formed under the NIH grant eventually developed the drug, according to the Washington Post (Brown, Washington Post, 5/26). The company says that the grant represents less than 1% of the more than $300 million spent to develop Norvir (Reuters, 5/25).
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2004 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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