Abbott labs ends dispute with Brazilian government over AIDS drug

Monday, July 11, 2005

Two weeks ago, the government of Brazil threatened to break the patent on the most widely-prescribed AIDS medication, Keletra (produced by Abbott Labs), if the makers would not comply with the government's requests. After holding its ground during the days leading up to the deadline set by Brazilian authorities, Abbot Labs has finally reached an agreement with the Brazilian government and is lowering its prices to levels deemed appropriate by the government of Brazil.

Brazilian law allows Brazil to break patents on medicines when there is a "risk to public health". After determining that the current prices were so exorbitant that they posed a significant risk to public health, the Brazilian government-owned chemical laboratories could begin manufacturing the drug themselves.

Brazil spent $107 million producing the drug this past year, and stated that the new financial deal will save the government $18 million next year, and $259 million over the next six years.

Brazilian citizens receive free AIDS medication, paid for by the government. This bulk purchasing arrangement allows Brazilian citizens to receive the most affordable healthcare in the developed world.