Abbott Asked To Register, Sell Kaletra in Thailand
Thai physicians, HIV-positive people and HIV/AIDS advocates have signed a letter asking Abbott Laboratories to register and sell the new version of its second-line antiretroviral drug Kaletra in Thailand because the old version is too expensive, the Bangkok Post reports. The older version of Kaletra costs Thailand's Ministry of Public Health approximately $1,380 annually per person, while the new version would cost about $532 annually per person (Achara, Bangkok Post, 5/2). FDA in October 2005 approved the new form of Kaletra, which allows HIV-positive people to take fewer pills, does not require refrigeration and can be taken with or without food (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/12). The petition was signed by a number of Thailand's prominent health care figures and last month was sent directly to Abbott. The letter received a "lukewarm" response from the company, which said Kaletra would be sold only in the least developed countries, such as those in Africa. There are 82,000 HIV-positive people who receive antiretroviral drugs from Thailand's Ministry of Public Health, but an estimated 8,000 people need to change to newer versions, such as Kaletra, because of drug resistance, the Post reports (Bangkok Post, 5/2).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.