Examination of Witnesses (Questions 375
THURSDAY 29 JUNE 2000
Chairman: Welcome, Mr Walker. You have
been with us during the course of the previous questioning so
you know the format.
Mr Robathan: He probably does not know
that if he had failed to show we could have locked him up in the
cells at the bottom of Big Ben!
Chairman: We do not like to wave the
big stick. We would like to ask questions about anti-retroviral
pricing to begin with, if we may, and Nigel Jones is going to
lead us on that.
375. We read with interest the memorandum from
Glaxo Wellcomeor are you Glaxo SmithKline now?
(Mr Cochrane) Not yet.
376. You have a new headquarters going up on
the M4. You mentioned earlier the support that you are giving
for the UNICEF-led programme in 25 developing countries to reduce
mother-to-child transmission, providing free initial start up
supplies of 30,000 treatment courses of Retrovir, AZT, as well
as working with the UN and NGOs to engage the support of local
communities. What has been the take-up of AZT at the preferential
price? You reduced the price by 75 per cent below global prices,
what has been the take-up, and what has been the take-up of the
free initial start-up supplies?
(Mr Cochrane) I do not remember the exact
quantity we gave initially. To start with there were 10,000 and
we have now repeated that with another 20,000 on top of that.
Certainly the first lot has been completely exhausted and so the
take-up would have been all those 10,000 and we are now renewing
the programme to see whether we can expand it.
377. So take-up has been good?
(Mr Cochrane) Yes.
378. What is the preferentially-priced cost
of a course of Retrovir in a mother-to-child transmission programme?
Say, a single one.
(Mr Cochrane) I need to work it out but it is roughly
of the order of £30, that sort of order. It is 30 days at
£1 a day, or £1.30 a day, so it is of that sort of order.
379. To what extent does it reduce the risk
(Mr Cochrane) By about 50 per cent.