Roche Cuts Prices of Its AIDS Drugs to Poor Countries
February 18, 2003
Pharmaceutical giant Roche announced Thursday it will slash the price of its AIDS drug Viracept for sub-Saharan Africa and poor countries elsewhere. The "no-profit" prices for delivery direct from its Swiss factory begin March 1, the company said. "Our revised policy demonstrates Roche's commitment to the fight against HIV and to further accelerate access to care in these African and least-developed countries," said William M. Burns, head of Roche Pharma, the manufacturing arm of the Swiss company.Adapted from:
The offer cuts the price of Viracept down to approximately $900 per year, just 15 percent of what the company charges in Switzerland. The company also cut the price of the protease inhibitor Invirase. "The no profit prices direct from Roche Basel are the lowest prices at which the products can be provided in a sustainable manner. They do not reflect research or development costs, marketing costs, distribution costs or company overhead," added Roche.
With the 85 percent reduction, Roche is now in line with offers made by other pharmaceutical companies. Doctors Without Borders noted that until now Roche had only cut prices around 40 percent while other companies were offering cuts of up to 92 percent. DWB welcomed the announcement and said that it had taken a long time to persuade Roche to act. "The long struggle to reduce the price of this Roche drug is proof of the limitations of a fully voluntary system. For the new drugs there needs to be an internationally supported enforceable system that reduces prices to affordable levels in developing countries."
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.