Merck to have Cipla make cut-rate version of an HIV drug

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India's Cipla has been aggressive about taking aim at Western meds it thinks are too expensive for the Indian market, sometimes targeting those that have seen their patents pushed aside by compulsory licenses. But drugmaker Merck ($MRK) has a new deal with Cipla that might help it sidestep that issue. Cipla will manufacture at a discount Merck HIV drug Isentress, Bloomberg reports. It is among more than 20 drugs Indian officials are looking at for issuing compulsory licenses. The two won't price it for a few months, but one analyst suggests it must not be more than 10% of its current $5,000-a-year retail price for it to work in the Indian market. Cipla made its reputation by selling cheap knockoffs of Western HIV drugs. In a statement, Merck said it and Cipla "share the same commitment of providing broader access to HIV treatment in India." Story | More

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