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Merck Cuts Antiretroviral Stocrin's Price by 20% in Developing Countries

March 7, 2006

Whitehouse Station, N.J.- based Merck on Tuesday announced that it is reducing the price of its antiretroviral drug Stocrin in developing countries by 20% from 95 cents daily to 76 cents daily, making the new annual cost of the drug $277.40 for the 600 milligram formulation, Reuters reports. The reduced price of Stocrin, known generically as efavirenz and used as part of second-line drug treatment, is available only on large orders and does not include insurance on the shipment or shipping charges, which might add 10% to the cost, Merck estimates (Reuters, 3/7). Former President Clinton in January announced an agreement reached by the Clinton Foundation that will allow the sale of efavirenz produced by Indian companies Cipla, Ranbaxy Laboratories and Strides Arcolab, as well as South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare, to people in developing countries for no more than $240 per patient annually (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/13). "At the end of the day, the prices we're making available are within pennies of those offered by the generic producers," Merck spokesperson Jeffrey Sturchio said. Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS, said the announcement was "very welcome" and that he hopes the trend to lower antiretroviral drug prices will continue (Merck release, 3/7). Merck aims to reduce the price of Stocrin further in the coming years, according to Richard Clark, CEO of the company (Reuters, 3/7).

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