By CHRISTOPHER SZYMONSKIAPATO(Reuters) – The cost of a medically induced drug that is being sold to help patients with neuroblastoma in Germany could increase by up to 50 percent because the drug is being tested in a German study, according to the German health ministry.
The drug is known as Ritonavir, which is approved in the United States for treating people with HIV/AIDS and other autoimmune diseases, according a German website.
The costs of RitonAVir have risen from less than $1,200 to more than $8,000, according the German Federal Health Ministry.
It said in a statement on Thursday that the average cost of the drug in Germany was $5,700, or $6,200 per patient.
The ministry said the drug could cost up to 40 percent more in Germany.
It said that after an initial trial, the drug should be tested in more than 600 German patients, who are being treated for neuroblastomas.
The German health minister did not give an estimated cost of Rionavir for the study, but said the price could be as high as 30 percent.
Ritonavirus vaccines and treatments are already being developed by German pharmaceutical companies, but the new drug is the first to be developed at the German research center that develops the vaccines and the treatments, the German government said in an email to Reuters.
“It is not clear whether the costs are as high in the new trial as the German authorities are claiming,” the government said.
The government also said the company that made the RitonAvir vaccine, Gilead Sciences Inc, has agreed to pay up to $2.3 billion ($2.7 billion) to settle a civil lawsuit that accused it of misleading consumers by selling the vaccine at a price too high for its safety.
The Ritonovir trial is expected to be finished in 2018.