U.S.-based drugmaker Abbott Laboratories has filed for registration of a heat-resistant tablet version of its HIV/AIDS drug, Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir), in South Africa. Subsequently, the South African government granted fast-track review for the new formulation.
This version of the drug -- a key second-line treatment for HIV-positive people who develop resistance to, first-line treatments -- could be particularly useful in poorer regions of the country where refrigeration is difficult to maintain.
"We are trying to do everything we can to investigate registrations in other developing countries," said Abbott spokeswoman Melissa Brotz.
Abbott plans to maintain its current lopinavir/ritonavir price of $500 per patient per year in South Africa. At present, the medication one of the lowest-priced protease inhibitors in Africa.