AIDS Group Battles GlaxoSmithKline
May 28, 2002
AIDS Healthcare Foundation, one of the largest providers of specialized care for HIV patients in the United States, said it would bar GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) from marketing drugs at its outpatient sites to protest the company's pricing policies. Although British-based GSK offers reduced prices for AIDS drugs sold in the developing world, the foundation claims the drug maker still charges twice as much as its competitors -- an allegation GSK counters by noting it makes no profits on those sales.
The cost to treat a single AIDS patient with a combination of Glaxo drugs is nearly $2,000 a year but easily could be cut to $500, according to Cesar Portillo, a foundation spokesperson. "Glaxo's actions have put it outside the bounds of corporate responsibility," said Michael Wienstein, president of the foundation that treats thousands of patients in California, New York and Florida. By barring GSK sales representatives from its physicians' offices, the foundation hopes to block the main channel the company uses to inform doctors directly about new products.
GSK acknowledged that some generic drugs sell in the developing world for half the price of its comparable products. "You have to cover your basic costs of manufacturing," spokesperson Nancy Pekarek said. "You can't just give it away for the long term. You have to ensure there's going to be a stable supply," she said. Pekarek said she regretted the foundation's move, but did not expect it will have any effect on the company's sales force.
05.27.02; Simon Avery
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.