Merck cuts price of efavirenz for developing countries again

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Merck & Co has cut the price of efavirenz 600mg tablets (Stocrin) for developing countries that qualify for its access programme, the company announced yesterday.

It is the second price cut in a year, and crucially, it will make the branded version of efavirenz cheaper than a generic import in Thailand, where a compulsory license was recently issued to allow importation of efavirenz from India.

For least developed countries and medium human development index countries with an adult HIV prevalence of 1% or more, the price of Stocrin 600mg tablets is being reduced by 14.5%, to US$0.65 a day ($237.25 a year).



In relation to medicines, a drug manufactured and sold without a brand name, in situations where the original manufacturer’s patent has expired or is not enforced. Generic drugs contain the same active ingredients as branded drugs, and have comparable strength, safety, efficacy and quality.

In medium HDI countries with an HIV prevalence of less than 1% the price of Stocrin is being reduced by 5.8%, to US$1.80 a day ($657 a year).

A company spokesman said that the company was able to cut the price as a result of identifying further manufacturing efficiencies.

The company says that as a result of its differential pricing policy around 500,000 patients in 76 developing countries were receiving Stocrin as part of their antiretroviral regimen.