An international voluntary group active in treating HIV/AIDS patients Friday appealed to pharma major Cipla to reduce the price of AIDS drugs.
The US-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation said that out of the 2.5 million Indians suffering from HIV/AIDS, 85,000 are receiving antiretroviral treatment.
Quoting Médecins Sans Frontičres, an international medical and humanitarian aid organisation, the foundation claimed that Cipla provides African countries with AIDS drugs much cheaper than it provides to Indians.
"While Cipla offers African nations the same drug for Rs.21,200 (per person per year), it is available in India for Rs.54,000," said Chinkholal Thansing, Asia Pacific bureau chief of the foundation.
The organisation said the per capita gross national income (GNI) in India was roughly $730, while Cipla's published price in India for the AIDS drug Viraday was around $1,344, nearly twice the average Indian's annual income.
In this connection, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) had published an advertisement in a number of newspapers. Reacting to this Cipla had already sent a legal notice to AHF asking it to publish a public apology or else face a defamation case worth $25 million.
"We are a voluntary group and have no rivalry with Cipla. Though we appreciate Cipla for developing antiretroviral drugs but we will not apologise to it," Thansing said.