MSF open letter to Abbott
To: Miles White, Chairman and CEO
Dear Mr. White,
On behalf of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), I am writing to you a third time to request formal confirmation that Abbott will fulfill MSF’s order placed three weeks ago on March 15, 2006.
Abbott has stated repeatedly, most recently in an email from Rob Dintruff, Director, Global Cares Initiative, dated April 4, that it will discuss fulfilment of MSF’s order only after MSF has obtained the necessary special authorizations to import and use heat-stable lopinavir/ritonavir. However, as MSF has repeatedly indicated, several countries included in our order are unable to process special authorization requests until Abbott confirms fulfilment of the order and provides key information. Abbott must provide a pro forma invoice, date of shipment and certificate of analysis in order for MSF to move forward in obtaining the necessary authorizations to import the drug into the countries where MSF need it immediately.
MSF has taken note of Abbott’s public communication on April 4, 2006 in which Abbott announced a price for the new tablet formulation of LPV/r of $500 per patient per year for countries in Africa and least developed countries. We request Abbott’s confirmation that this price will apply to the entire MSF order.
Due to MSF’s urgent need for this drug, each MSF project is willing to import the new formulation from Abbott, although this is not as efficient as Abbott shipping to MSF’s bonded warehouse in Bordeaux, France. However, MSF asks that Abbott supply this product directly to avoid the lengthy delays and burdensome procedures imposed by Axios.
We have also noted that Abbott has now filed for registration of the new formulation of lopinavir/ritonavir in South Africa. We request that Abbott keeps MSF and other interested groups regularly updated on the progress of this registration in South Africa. However, Abbott has still not started filing for registration throughout the developing world, nor communicated plans to do so although there are no barriers to initiating this process now.
Finally, I would like to call your attention to the enclosed letter, which includes an expanded list of over 300 signatures from prominent HIV/AIDS researchers, clinicians, treatment advocates, policy makers, investment groups and the international procurement agency IDA. These individuals and organizations call on Abbott to take immediate steps to promote access to heat-stable lopinavir/ritonavir in developing countries, in addition to South Africa, by filing for registration in developing countries immediately and extending affordable prices to care-providers in middle income countries.
MSF cannot accept additional delays from Abbott, as patients in MSF projects, as well as many others, have an urgent need for this drug as part of their second-line therapy. Abbott’s delay in issuing the necessary documentation to fulfill MSF’s order is directly affecting patient care. I expect Abbott to confirm the fulfillment of MSF’s order within three days. I am available to meet with you personally, and I look forward to your prompt response.
Nicolas de Torrente
encl: Letter dated April 5, 2006 from 318 signatures
Heather Mason, Vice President, International Marketing
Robert Dintruff, Director, Global Cares Initiative
Reeta Roy, Global Citizenship