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U.S. News

Industry Analysts Project Norvir Sales to Double; Insurers Say Norvir Costs Quadrupled Since 400% Price Increase

June 7, 2004

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

Pharmaceutical industry analysts project that Abbott Laboratories this year will collect an additional $70 million in sales because of a 400% price increase for its antiretroviral drug Norvir, and the company is expected to "ultimately nearly double the more than $1 billion in sales" that the drug has made since its launch in 1996, the Chicago Tribune reports (Japsen, Chicago Tribune, 6/6). 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 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/26). Abbott is expected to generate $2 billion in Norvir sales over the next decade -- nearly doubling the $1 billion it has taken in since the drug was put on the market. Health plan spending since the price increase has "soared," and private insurers "likely" will pass the additional costs on to all consumers who pay premiums, according to the Tribune. For example, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois said its costs for Norvir more than quadrupled from $70,138 in the first quarter of 2003 to $309,248 in the first quarter of 2004. Jeffrey Leiden, president of Abbott's pharmaceutical products group, said that the price increase is justified because the drug's role in treating HIV infection has been undervalued. He added that Norvir still is the least expensive protease inhibitor on the market. However, prosecutors are investigating whether the price increase violates antitrust laws (Chicago Tribune, 6/6). The company also faces lawsuits from AIDS advocacy and consumer groups and is being investigated by the attorneys general of Illinois and Texas. In addition, NIH is considering a request from the consumer group Essential Inventions for a license to produce a generic version of the drug while it is still under patent (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/28).

Back to other news for June 7, 2004


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.

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 
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