May 10, 2011
Abbott Laboratories announced at its annual shareholders meeting it will reduce the price of Kaletra by 8 percent for state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs). The state-run programs for low-income HIV/AIDS patients are struggling to contain costs amid reductions in government spending and increases in demand due to the poor economy.
North Chicago-based Abbott said ADAPs will pay $5,037 per patient per year for the protease inhibitor, a key ingredient in HIV drug cocktails. Miles White, Abbott's chair and CEO, said the drugmaker has not raised the price of Kaletra since 2007. Other companies have increased prices of their AIDS drugs 5 percent to 6 percent annually, he noted.
Meanwhile, cash-strapped states are starting to impose eligibility restrictions on people seeking help through ADAPs. More than 7,700 patients countrywide are on ADAP waiting lists, said the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, citing state and federal data.
In Illinois, the state health department will restrict its ADAP to "new applicants with incomes at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty level," or $32,670 for a single individual, beginning in July. The program currently admits individuals earning 500 percent of the federal poverty level, or $54,450.