Sale of new HIV pills blocked
Sale of new HIV pills blocked edical watchdog Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) yesterday accused a giant drug company of selling outdated anti-retroviral medicines to Thailand.
Despite replacing its Lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r) with an updated formula from the US, Abbott Laboratories is still selling the old LPV/r in Thailand, said MSF's Dr David Wilson.
The old version of LPV/r requires refrigeration but the new pill does not need to be chilled, making it much more suitable for many of the developing countries where MSF operates, Wilson said.
But when MSF enquired about the price and availability of the new pills, Abbott said it would wait until the product was available in Europe before asking marketing approval for developing countries.
The new drug might not be available for several years, while the price of the old version remains unreasonably high, Wilson said.
The Public Health Ministry could cover the cost of LPV/r treatment for only 500 patients, but some 8,000 need it, he said.