Roche cuts price of HIV blindness drug

Roche has announced it is increasing access to a key drug to treat blindness in patients with HIV by making it up to 90% cheaper in 138 developing and emerging countries than it is currently available.

The Swiss drugmaker has entered into a supply agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) to increase access to Valycte (valganciclovir hydrochloride). Valcyte is an easy-to-take oral medicine to treat cytomegalovirus (CMV). CMV is a viral infection that can result in loss of vision and greater risk of death in people living with HIV. The infection affects around 1 in 10 people living with HIV in low-and middle-income countries.

“This agreement demonstrates how working together can improve the availability of treatments for people in resource-limited countries. Roche is committed to making Valcyte available to patients suffering from HIV-related CMV infections in developing countries. Our aim is to provide access to affordable Valcyte that is produced under quality conditions and increase the number of people who access and benefit from our products.”

Daniel O’Day, COO of Roche Pharma.

Roche and the MPP will consider adding more countries to the initial scope if there is a need. They will also explore licensing and technology transfer as a second step to help local production of Valycte.

“The agreement announced today will make an oral treatment for CMV available at lower prices, to help break a cycle of lack of screening and treatment in many countries. With medicines available, HIV treatment providers can work on wider diagnosis and treatment and prevent avoidable blindness in people living with HIV.”

Greg Perry, Executive Director of the Medicines Patent Pool.

The deal is another success for the MPP, as its aim is to encourage global drugmakers to share intellectual property rights to important treatments for the developing world with generic drugmakers.


Related news:

Roche adds HIV blindness drug to patent pool, cutting price (Reuters)

Reference links:

Roche press release

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