"Former U.S. president Bill Clinton has announced a deal with drug companies to drastically reduce the cost of second-line anti-retroviral HIV/AIDS medicines for people in the developing world. His foundation has also negotiated a deal allowing a one-pill-a-day treatment that would cost less than $1 a day for developing countries, a 45 percent saving on the current price in Africa…"
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) hailed the new initiative as one that will open the door to improving children’s access to much-needed medicines, as the prices of 16 AIDS treatments are slashed. According to UNICEF, this agreement will allow millions of children to receive treatment.
Mr. Clinton announced that the agreements with the generic drug manufacturers Cipla and Matrix will drastically reduce the prices of second-line antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) and pave the way for a new, once daily pill that is currently prohibitively expensive in poorer countries.
“Seven million people in the developing world are in need of treatment for HIV/AIDS,” he said. “We are trying to meet that need with the best medicine available today, and at prices that low- and middle-income countries can afford.”
The negotiations were conducted by the Clinton Foundation, including new prices for second-line drugs which will save poorer countries 25 percent and middle-income nations 50 per cent. These drugs are used to treat patients who develop a resistance to first-line medications.
These price reductions were made possible by UNITAID, a UN-backed international drug purchasing facility launched by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2006, which will provide the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative with over $100 million over 18 months to buy these second-line medications for 27 countries.
“Every person living with HIV deserves access most effective medicines, and UNITAID aims to ensure that these are affordable for all developing countries,” said Philippe Douste-Blazy, chairman of UNITAID’s Board and French Foreign Minister.
UNITAID, which is funded by 34 countries as of now, relies on innovative mechanisms to raise money, including a levy on airline tickets. This year, it will provide $300 million, and financing is expected to exceed $500 million in 2009.
Mr. Clinton also announced that the cost of a first-line medicine, a once-daily pill made available in the U.S. in 2006 which is now considered the gold-standard treatment, combining the drugs tenofovir, lamivudine and efavirenz. The new cost per patient per year of $339 — less than $1 per day — marks a 45 percent decrease from current prices in developing countries and a 67 percent reduction in middle income ones.
For more details, (including the quote at the beginning of the story) visit AFP.