Select Committee on International Development Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 375 - 379)



  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.

Mr Jones

  375. We read with interest the memorandum from Glaxo Wellcome—or 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 of transmission?
  (Mr Cochrane) By about 50 per cent.

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