Hundreds of Doctors Call for Boycott of Abbott Laboratories Following 400% Price Increase of AIDS Drug
February 11, 2004
A group of about 200 doctors who treat HIV/AIDS patients has called for a boycott of Chicago-based Abbott Laboratories after the company's recent price increase for the antiretroviral drug Norvir, Reuters/Los Angeles Times reports (Reuters/Los Angeles Times, 2/11). Attorneys general for Illinois and New York have begun investigations into whether Abbott violated antitrust laws when it increased by 400% the price of Norvir. In December 2003, Abbott increased the wholesale price of Norvir -- which is known generically as ritonavir -- from $54 per month to $265 per month. Norvir is primarily used as a booster for other protease inhibitors, such as Bristol-Myers Squibb's Reyataz and Merck's Crixivan. On Feb. 6, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) announced that her office had opened an investigation into whether the price increase of Norvir was designed to increase the price of antiretroviral drug combinations that use Norvir as a booster and steer patients toward Abbott's newer antiretroviral drug Kaletra. Kaletra, which does not need a booster for other protease inhibitors because it includes Norvir, costs about $18.78 per day, or $563.40 per month, and has a longer patent life (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/9). The doctors on Tuesday at the 11th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in San Francisco agreed that until Abbott reduces the price of Norvir, they will resign from all Abbott advisory boards and lecture faculties, prohibit all Abbott representatives from visiting their offices and not participate in any future Abbott-sponsored clinical trials, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. In addition, the doctors will consider non-Abbott drug treatment alternatives for their patients unless an Abbott drug would be in the patient's best interest. They plan to extend the boycott to other Abbott products and encourage other physicians to join the boycott, the Sun-Times reports.
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. © 2003 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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.