The blockbuster triple-therapy reaches the Chinese market at a lower price point.
GlaxoSmithKline PLC, otherwise known as GSK, has released their HIV therapy, Triumeq into the Chinese mainland. Triumeq has been priced considerably lower than it is in the neighboring markets of South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. A one-month course of the therapy will be sold for 2,880 yuan, or $450. Triumeq was approved by the FDA in 2014 and has since been available internationally, with a presence in over 50 countries and regions.
As a combination of three drugs in a single pill, Triumeq is currently the first all-in-one HIV therapy that is available in China. The therapy reduces the need for other drugs in the treatment of the virus, and as such, offers a major benefit to all patients.
Zhang Fujie from Beijing Ditan Hospital of Capital Medical University commented on the advantage of the therapy for those affected by the virus in China. “It poses less drug-drug interaction and has a high barrier to drug resistance,” said Fujie, noting, that Triumeq “brings a more convenient treatment with high efficacy to Chinese people living with HIV.”
Of the 746,000 individuals (the number as of October 2017) that are confirmed to be afflicted with HIV in China (though the number not recorded is likely much greater), approximately 495,000 patients currently are taking part in an antiviral therapy regime. Many of these people rely on free treatment courtesy of government-funded programs. GSK has made it clear that the company would be open to negotiations with the government of China in order to have Triumeq included in this treatment opportunity.
Thomas Willemsen, General Manager of GSK China Pharmaceuticals and Vaccines, commented on the market expansion, noting that the company is spearheading education in the region in order to familiarize citizens with the drug. “We are working closely with Chinese associations to undertake a series of initiatives, including professional training for HIV/AIDS care personnel, as well as disease prevention and education programmes, to enable Chinese people living with HIV (to) get better support and help,” said Willemsen.
ViiV Healthcare, which is a joint venture that is owned primarily by GSK, and with minority stakes from Pfizer Inc. and Japan’s Shionogi & Co. Ltd., produces Triumeq. This introduction of the therapy is part of a larger focus to integrate more deeply into the Chinese market.