Affordable HIV drug from India


We have selected summing up this article to show that innovation not only helps marketing of a product be it a consumer goods or drug or white goods but also make the product affordable. This is even more considered aiding society and serving a humanitarian cause, if the price of the innovative product happens to be the one like a HIV drug.

Indian drug majors will launch the first three-in-one combination single pills for HIV patients, making the treatment easier and cheaper. The drug will be priced cheaper at around Rs.1 lakh per annum per patient costing about Rs 274 per day. This will be 80-85% cheaper than the global price of nearly Rs7 lakh per patient per year.

The current treatment involves dozens of pills every day, making the treatment complicated and expensive. The pill got US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) approval on Wednesday. The pill atripla, contains Bristol-myers Squibb’s drug Sustiva and Gilead’s medicines Viread and Emtriva, is the latest development in the treatement of the dreaded virus.

Sources said Indian companies including Cipla and Hetero are planning to launch it close to the worldwide launch by foreign companies.

Cipla announced that they are ready with the formulation for the three-in-one single pill, and are applying to the drug controller of India for approval.

The company’s single once-daily pill will be branded as Viraday. He added that the foreign companies have started following the example set by Cipla in launching fixed-dose combinations to treat HIV.

In 2001 Cipla launched the first fixed-dose combination, Triomune that combined three antiretroviral drugs in one pill (twice a day) and offered it at a price of $350 (Rs15000) per patient per year, as against the global price of $10,439 (Rs5lakh). This also became one of the frequently prescribed treatments in developing countries, making the treatment simpler and cheaper.

Another generic manufacturer, Hyderabad-based Hetero Drugs is also working on the fixed dose single-pill and will launch it in a few months. The company’s director-marketing said that they are waiting for the license to initiate studies on the drug, and will launch it substantially cheaper than the global price.

Experts say that with more competition, the prices of these drugs will further go down. Recently, “Aurobindo Pharma� got FDA approval to produce a generic version of three combination drug.

They added that the single dose pill is a new better combination, and may soon become the preferred treatment for Aids, because of its simplicity and no side effects. The fixed dose combination is based in the recent treatment protocol by the World Health Organization for developing countries. The convenience of a single, once-daily pill becomes especially important for poor countries where patients have less access to medical care and where people are illiterate. A majority of the over 40 million HIV-infected people are in developing countries.

The once-a-daily pill helps people to take medicines on schedule, and in keeping the virus in check. A couple of years ago, patient had to take dozens of pills at different times each day. Slowly, the treatment is getting simpler with companies introducing new treatments.

From the above information and pricing factors due credit must be given to Indian drug majors for their ethical business marketing attitude and not taking any undue advantage of abnormal profits which they could have otherwise made. This makes India and the developing nations take pride in their contribution to mitigate the miseries of health of the mankind.