Boehringer To Reduce Price of Antiretroviral Nevirapine in Low-, Middle-Income Countries, Official Says
German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim will reduce the price of its antiretroviral drug nevirapine, sold under the brand name Viramune, by 50% and 90% in low- and middle-income countries, respectively, Alessandro Banchi, chair of the company's managing board, said recently in an interview, the Financial Times reports (Jack, Financial Times, 5/15). Nevirapine -- a low-cost medication that is used as a standard method of reducing mother-to-child HIV transmission in the developing world -- reduces the risk of MTC HIV transmission in repeat pregnancies. The drug is given in pill form to HIV-positive women during labor to avoid MTC transmission and in syrup form to infants within 72 hours of birth (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/10/06).
According to the Times, the drug will cost 60 cents per patient daily in 78 low-income countries and $1.20 per patient daily in 67 middle-income countries. In developed countries, the drug costs between $10 and $14 per patient daily. The company also will waive a 5% royalty fee, reporting requirements and other existing obligations for generic drug producers that have World Health Organization approval to make nevirapine using voluntary licenses.
"We want to solve the problem (of access) once and for all," Banchi said, adding, "Preferential pricing is the only way how we can meet both conflicting needs in the fight against AIDS." The company "can refinance [its] high research and development costs for innovative, new treatments by the established price system in industrialized countries and can offer affordable medicines to patients in poor countries who otherwise cannot afford antiretroviral medication," Banchi said (Financial Times, 5/15).