April 10, 2007
Washington, D.C. -- Abbott Laboratories, maker of AIDS drug Kaletra/Aluvia, announced that they would reduce the cost of the drug by 55% from $2,200 per person per year to $1,000 for people in low and lower-middle income countries. The Student Global AIDS Campaign (SGAC) is happy to see that pressure from activists has forced the price reduction, in conjunction with generic competition, Thailand's compulsory license, and WHO intervention. However, SGAC recognizes that while this is an initial step in increasing access to Kaletra, Abbott's shameful actions in Thailand last month to withdraw a heat-stable version of Kaletra continues to be a driving issue for activists to campaign against.
Abbott has yet to restate the registration for Aluvia or the six other drug registrations that it pulled from Thailand. SGAC continues to demand immediate reinstitution of the registrations. The Global Day of Action planned for April 26th will continue with dozens of actions around the country in solidarity with activists around the world. Major demonstrations are being planned for MA, IL, and DC.
Willa Deitch of the Student Global AIDS Campaign at Clark University said, "It's great to see that Abbott is taking this action to lower the cost of their drug, but they still have a lot more to do and we [SGAC] will continue to call them out on policies that are unjust and impede access to medication."
SGAC calls on all activists to continue the fight for treatment access and also calls on the World Health Organization to defend and support Thailand's decision to issue a compulsory license, by providing technical support and assistance to the Thai government to enforce compulsory licenses at this time.
While the proposed, reduced price of Aluvia to $1,000/patient/year is lower than what has been previously offered, it is still twice as expensive as the price in most developing countries. This price will continue to exert a heavy financial burden upon middle income and lower-middle income countries seeking to achieve universal access and treatment.
SGAC calls on Abbott to provide Kaletra/Aluvia at one low price to all countries classified as low income, lower middle income, and least developed. "SGAC and other AIDS activists want to see that everyone who needs treatment has access to it. Abbott has a lifesaving drug -- and while their recent action will definitely help in the fight to attain treatment access, it is not sufficient in and of itself," says Anuja Singh, a student at Columbia University and SGAC member.