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Glaxo Cuts Price of Key AIDS Drug

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From Bloomberg News

GlaxoSmithKline, Europe’s largest drug maker, said Sunday that it is cutting prices on Combivir and its other AIDS treatments by as much as half for 63 of the world’s poorest countries.

Combivir, which is part of the World Health Organization’s recommended standard treatment for HIV, will cost 90 cents a day for nonprofit groups, Glaxo said. Combivir had cost $1.70 a day since a price cut in September.

Activist groups have criticized Glaxo and other makers of AIDS drugs over the prices of their products and the inability of poor people to get them. In sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated 30 million people have AIDS, and countries such as South Africa say they can’t afford the medicines.

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“A significant increase in resources is still needed,” Glaxo Chief Executive Jean-Pierre Garnier said.

Drug makers say it’s not enough for them to cut the prices for the products in the developing world because nations don’t have the infrastructure to prescribe and distribute the medicines.

The reduced prices will be available to nonprofit groups, governments, aid agencies and companies that give AIDS drugs to their employees, Glaxo said.

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