Bayer Lowers Cost of Anthrax Meds

WASHINGTON?Federal officials and Bayer Corp. agreed Wednesday on a lower price for the antibiotic Cipro, the most popular anti-anthrax drug.

The pharmaceutical company will sell the government 100 million pills at 95 cents each, a cost of $95 million. That’s a savings of $82 million from Bayer’s original price of $1.77 a pill, the Department of Health and Human Services said.

“This agreement means that a much larger supply of this important pharmaceutical product will be available if needed,” HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson said in a statement.

“Bayer is fully committed to supplying America in its war on bioterrorism,” said Bayer President Helge Wehmeier.

Bayer holds the patent on Cipro, the antibiotic being prescribed to thousands of postal workers as a precaution to protect them from anthrax infection?as well as to many other people exposed to anthrax-containing letters.

Cipro has been the drug of choice because it is more likely to fight off an unknown strain of the bacterium.