Battle Over AIDS Drug Pricing

The drug Norvir (search) boosts the strength of other AIDS medications but just six months ago it got a boost of its own — a price boost — leaving some patients clamoring to pay for the vital medicine.

Abbott Laboratories (ABT), the maker of Norvir, quadrupled the price of a one-month's supply to $1,000.

AIDS advocates say taxpayers, in a sense, already paid for the drug. The National Institutes of Health (search), a federal agency, put $3 million into the initial Norvir testing.

"Its like asking taxpayers to pay twice," said James Love of the non-profit organization Essential Inventions (search). "First for the government grant and then through the high drug prices."

Abbott pointed out that the company invested 100 times more money in Norvir than the government did and say they will continue to give away Norvir to AIDS patients without prescription drug coverage.

But AIDS activists have asked the federal government to step in and regulate the price of Norvir or to allow other drug companies to produce a generic version.

Click here to watch a report by Fox News' Steve Brown.