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A Drug Pricing Victory ... and a Second Call for Action!

June 30, 2006

The nationwide campaign undertaken to restrain the price of Prezista (darunavir), the new protease inhibitor from Tibotec Therapeutics, has ended in success. After a series of meetings with the Fair Pricing Coalition and the presentation of support from hundreds of community individuals and organizations, Tibotec demonstrated that it listened to the voices of people affected by HIV.

Instead of raising the price over that charged by its most recent competitors, Tibotec instead virtually matched the price of the lowest priced recent new drug, Reyataz. Prezista seems clearly superior to both Aptivus and Fuzeon, which are priced much higher, so this was exactly the kind of bold move sought by the community.

Before the announcement of the price, Project Inform urged its readers (in PI Perspective #41) to write to the president of Tibotec, supporting the demands of the Fair Pricing Coalition. Now that the company has responded positively, it's appropriate and necessary that the community support what the company has done.

It is isn't often that Project Inform or other advocacy organizations call for support of drug company, but we must be fair. When they act in a socially responsible manner by responding to community needs, we need to reinforce that behavior. The best way to do that is to write a short, personal note of thanks to the company's president:

Mr. Glenn R. Mattes
President, Tibotec Therapeutics
430 Route 22 East
Bridgewater, NJ 08807-0914

The letter should be brief and to the point. Let him know that you appreciate his sensitivity to our concerns about the ever-rising prices of pharmaceutical drugs. Feel free to stress that the price should be lower still, but you're at least glad that the company resisted the temptation to leapfrog the prices of other recent drugs.

It may feel a little awkward saying "thank you" to a drug company, but we need to remember that they are the ones most responsible for the many new drugs since 1996 that have so greatly improved the lives of people with HIV. A little "thank you" will make it more likely that the next new drug will also be priced more fairly. By doing this, your letter can help make a real difference! While you're at it, send a copy to Project Inform and we'll try to keep track of how many letters are sent.

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