GlaxoSmithKline plans to cut prices for HIV drugs in developing countries

GlaxoSmithKline plc (LSE: GSK NYSE: GSK), a British based pharmaceutical, biological, and healthcare company, announced Wednesday its decision to cut down the cost of HIV drugs in developing countries.

The most significant decrease (almost 40% price reduction) will affect its antiretroviral Ziagen.

Ziagen, the trade name for Abacavir (ABC) is a nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) used to treat HIV and AIDS. It has been well tolerated: the main side effect is hypersensitivity, which can be severe and, rarely, fatal. Genetic testing can indicate whether an individual will be hypersensitive; over 90% of patients can safely take abacavir. After the price reduction it will cost about $15 per pack, or about 50 cents daily.

The company is also going to reduce prices for Lexiva by 20% to $3.35 daily. Lexiva is a pro-drug of the protease inhibitor and antiretroviral drug amprenavir.

Actually the reduction is possible due to improved manufacturing and less expensive raw ingredients used to produce the drugs.