GOVERNMENT FUNDING FOR XALATAN
Latanoprost was developed by Columbia University professor Laszlo Z. Bito in 1982.
Dr. Bito's research in the late 1970s and early 1980s was funded with over $4 million in grants from the National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of Health.
Latanaprost was licensed from Columbia University to Pharmacia Corp, now owned by Pfizer. Pharmacia Corp reportedly paid Columbia just $150,000 for the rights to the invention, plus royalty payments.
Pharmacia Corp. developed Latanoprost into a blockbuster drug, sold under the trademark Xalatan. Sales of Xalantan totaled over $500 million per year by 2000. In the last quarter, Pfizer predicted that sales would top $1 billion in 2003.
Xalatan is priced in the U.S. at up to $64 (CVS) for a four to six week supply (depending on if one or two eyes are being treated). Production of the active ingredient, which takes place outside of the United States, costs less than 1% of the sales price.
Pfizer's price for Xalantan in the U.S. is generally 2-5 times the price in most European countries, despite American taxpayers funding its early development.