The Wall Street Journal has a story revealing internal Abbott documents that reviewed its strategy to boost sales of Kaletra, its new AIDS drug. According to the report, documents and e-mails illustrate how company executives reviewed ways to manipulate the market for the AIDS drug by boosting the price of Norvir, its older AIDS therapy that is included with other drugs in combinational therapies. Abbott execs considered pulling Norvir or selling it only in liquid form, which one exec noted tastes like 'someone else's vomit.' Abbott then decided to simply quintuple the price of Norvir, expecting that the furor over the sudden price hike - touted as a measure to accurately reflect the drug's real value - would fade as Kaletra sales rose.
Abbott's decision on Norvir three years ago has drawn an investigation by the Illinois Attorney General as well as civil suits. But Kaletra sales were pushed past a billion dollars a year after the Norvir price hike made Kaletra a cheaper alternative to a combination of Reyataz, made by Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Norvir.
- here's the article on Abbott from The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)
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