Gilead Cuts HIV Drug Price

In an attempt to help curb the spread of AIDS in undeveloped countries, Gilead Sciences ( GILD) cut the price of its HIV treatment, Viread, by 37%.

The company announced that it will reduce its no-profit price of the drug for all African nations, as well as 15 others designated as "least developed" by the United Nations.

Under the Gilead Access Program, Viread will be available for $24.71 for a 30-day supply, or 82 cents a day, which reflects the cost to manufacture the drug and administer the program.

"Since the launch of this program Gilead has continued to invest in process improvements that could reduce our manufacturing costs. Now that we have identified improvements, we are able to lower our manufacturing cost and consequently our not-for-profit price," said John Martin, Gilead's president and CEO.

In reaction, shares of Gilead rose 27 cents, or 0.4%, to $66.04.

Going forward, Gilead said it will make the fixed-dose combination of Viread and Emtriva, another antiviral drug, available at a discount as soon as the product receives approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Emtriva was given priority designation by the FDA, which will rule on the drug by Sept. 12.

Gilead's move to discount its HIV drugs comes in the wake of a number of reports that show the disease continues to spread rapidly throughout the world, in part because of poverty.

On Friday, the U.N. released a study that showed that adult females account for nearly half of all HIV/AIDS cases, up from in 1985, with marked increases among younger women.

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