Gilead Sciences Refuses to Sell Discounted Viread to Canada
December 31 2003 1:00 AM ET
Gilead Sciences has refused to sell Viread, its HIV nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor, to Canada at a reduced price because of concerns that the medication will be resold to U.S. consumers at the cheaper price. Canada's National Post reports that Gilead distributes Viread free of charge to 1,600 Canadian HIV patients who have developed resistance to or cannot tolerate other anti-HIV drugs, but it will not make Viread more widely available in the country because of reimportation concerns.
Canadian laws put price caps on the amount that can be charged for medications, leading drugmakers to negotiate steep price cuts so that their drugs can be sold in the country. Gilead officials fear, though, that a lower price for the drug may lead Canadian pharmacies to sell Viread to U.S. consumers, who would pay more for the medication at home.
'Everybody gets the same price or they don't get [the drug],' infectious disease specialist Michael Silverman says Gilead officials told Canadian doctors. Amy Flood, a Gilead spokeswoman, says the company is negotiating with Canada's Patented Medicine Price Review Board to establish a price for Viread in Canada, but she notes the company will likely sell the medication only at the same price it charges in all industrialized countries.