AIDS Advocates, Religious Groups Protest Norvir Price Increase at Abbott Shareholders' Meeting
April 27, 2004
Several dozen AIDS patients and patient advocates on Friday attended Abbott Laboratories' annual shareholders' meeting to protest the company's decision to increase the price of its antiretroviral drug Norvir by 400%, the Chicago Tribune reports (Japsen, Chicago Tribune, 4/24). In December 2003, Abbott increased from $54 per month to $265 per month 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, 4/20). Matt Sharp, an advocate from AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition, said, "We're demanding a price rollback" (Comerford, Chicago Daily Herald, 4/24). Several group representatives "pleaded their case" before shareholders, the Tribune reports (Chicago Tribune, 4/24). Terri Ford of AIDS Healthcare Foundation during the question period of the meeting asked, "How can the reputational harm caused by all of this negative outcry possibly be beneficial to investors?" (Dixon, Reuters, 4/23). AHF last month filed suit against Abbott claiming that the drug maker used false advertising to say that state Medicaid programs would not be affected by the price increase (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/20). The company also is the target of other government investigations, lawsuits and doctor boycotts in connection with the price increase, the Chicago Sun-Times reports (Knowles, Chicago Sun-Times, 4/24). Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) in February 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 because it includes ritonavir, costs about $18.78 per patient per day, or $563.40 per patient per month, and has a longer patent life (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/20).
Abbott, Shareholder Response
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.
Two HIV/AIDS Patients File Federal Antitrust Suit Against Abbott Over Price of Norvir; May Seek Class-Action Status
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.