Two Agreements Lower Drug Costs for HIV/AIDS Treatment

HIV AIDS
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According to the Clinton Foundation, there are 33.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the world. Over 90% of them live in developing countries. Access to treatment is often limited, but this past Thursday former U.S. President Bill Clinton and drugmakers Pfizer and Matrix Laboratories Ltd announced a deal to make drugs available at lower costs to them.

The two complementary agreements will make second-line antiretroviral (ARV) therapy available at more affordable costs to HIV/AIDS patients in the developing world.

One agreement will make a second-line regimen of four ARVs available for under $500 annually. This comes from Matrix, a Mylan company who is making available all four drugs needed to enable once-daily treatment of patients who have developed resistance to standard first-line ARVs. The four drugs are atazanavir (ATV), ritonavir (RTV), tenofovir (TDF), and lamivudine (3TC). They will be available in three pills, with tenofovir and lamivudine combined into a single pill. The three pills are being made available today as separate products, with a total price of less than $475 annually.

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Beginning in 2010, Matrix will sell the pills together in one package – a “second-line-in-a-box” – at $425 annually. These new products and prices will be available to governments that are members of the Clinton Foundation’s Procurement Consortium across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Additionally, the cost of a key drug for treating tuberculosis (TB) in patients using second-line ARVs has been reduced by 60 percent, to $1 per dose.

The second agreement addresses the treatment of tuberculosis which is common in patients with HIV/AIDS. This agreement is between the Clinton Foundation and Pfizer who has agreed to reduce the price of rifabutin. Pfizer will sell the drug at $1 per 150 mg dose, or $90 for a full course of treatment over six months. This price will be available throughout developing markets in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and the Caribbean.

Tuberculosis is the leading cause of death among HIV-positive patients. The WHO reports that over one-third of all individuals living with HIV also are infected with tuberculosis, resulting in over 450,000 deaths in 2007.

Sources
Clinton Foundation
Pfizer Press Release

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