New Clinton HIV Initiatives: second-line therapies & launches Ethiopa AIDS Program
Clinton to take war on HIV to next level
Science and Health Editor
MAFETENG - In the wake of his success in lowering the price of first-line AIDS drugs most widely used in poor countries, former US president Bill Clinton says he hopes to do the same for second-line drugs by the end of the year.
Patients usually begin treatment with three "first-line" drugs, but if they develop severe side effects or resistance to these drugs, they need to switch to "second-line" medication.
The Clinton Foundation has succeeded in slashing the cost of first-line generic drugs by negotiating lower prices set by pharmaceutical manufacturers for the makers of the raw ingredients.
However, the prices of second-line drugs remain prohibitive.
"It's quite difficult for us to get close to the price of the first line drugs ... because of the volume problem. It's hard to get volumes up, but we have gotten steep discounts (on two second-line drugs), and I think we will have the full complement by the end of the year," said Clinton.
Clinton, who was in SA this week, travelled to Lesotho on Wednesday with Microsoft chairman Bill Gates to assess the country's fight against AIDS.
The poor mountain kingdom has the world's third-highest HIV prevalence rate, with an estimated 270000 people with the disease according to UNAIDS.
About 58000 Basotho need treatment with antiretroviral medicines, but so far only 11000 are getting them, according to the Clinton Foundation.
The Clinton Foundation's HIV/AIDS Initiative began working with the Lesotho government after an approach from UN special envoy Stephen Lewis.
Clinton and Gates toured the Lesotho government's second-largest HIV/AIDS facility, at the Mafeteng Hospital in Lesotho, which is currently treating 1100 patients.
Clinton launches AIDS program in Ethiopia
Former US president Bill Clinton speaks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Clinton launched a program to help children suffering from AIDS in Ethiopia, where close to 3 million people are estimated to be infected with the deadly virus.
Former US president Bill Clinton launched a program to help children suffering from AIDS in Ethiopia, where close to 3 million people are estimated to be infected with the deadly virus.
Under the program, the Clinton Foundation will fund the program at a cost of 250,000 dollars (200,000 euros) and provide 23 medical experts from Yale University to work in 13 hospitals across the country for one year.
"My foundation will provide the clinic with necessary equipment and medical supplies in addition to train health officials and boost hospital management systems," Clinton said as he laid the foundation stone for a clinic for orphans.
According to Addis Ababa, some 1.5 million people out of the impoverished Horn of Africa nation's 70 million population are infected with HIV/AIDS. The World Health Organization puts the figure at 2.8 million.
Nearly a million Ethiopian children have been orphaned by the disease and about 5,000 new infections are recorded weekly.
"We are honoured to work with your foundation to save lives," said Tewodros Adhanom, Ethiopia's Health Minister. - AFP
Clinton urges Africa to step up AIDS tests
Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:16pm ET
By Frank Phiri
LILONGWE (Reuters) - Former U.S. President Bill Clinton on Friday urged African governments to encourage people to take voluntary AIDS tests, saying it was the only way that newly available drugs would have an impact on the epidemic.
"People living with HIV and AIDS can live a normal life if they go for testing to know their status. We'll bring the medicine and it does not matter at what cost but how many lives will be saved and changed," Clinton said.
AIDS kills 10 people in Malawi per hour, and at least one million of the small southern African country's total population of 12 million is infected, according to official statistics.
Clinton's foundation has been working to make cheaper anti-retroviral (ARV) AIDS drugs available in Africa, and he has in the past voiced support for mandatory HIV/AIDS tests in countries with high infection rates.
Mandatory testing remains controversial, with some activists fearing it could expose infected people to stigma particularly in countries where treatment is not readily available.
Clinton's visit to Malawi was to unveil new projects undertaken by the Clinton-Hunter Foundation Development Initiative, which aims to address poverty and the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Clinton commended Malawi -- one of Africa's poorest and least developed nations -- for its anti-poverty agenda.
"You have set the right priorities. We have come here to build a partnership with poor people to help them help themselves. I promise you that together we'll keep the score," he said.
The CHDI has set aside an initial $100 million for Malawi and Rwanda.
The first projects under the Clinton-Hunter initiative will invest in education, health, infrastructure, agriculture, and enterpreneurial support.
"This is a private sector initiative by two individuals who are touched by poverty in Malawi and are committed to assist in alleviating in," Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika said at Friday's ceremony.
Tom Hunter, a Scottish philanthropist and retail magnate has staked $100 million on the initiative. He is ranked by Forbes Magazine as the 548th richest person in the world.
Clinton Deal for HIV Generics
Jan 13, 2006
Former President Clinton on Thursday announced an agreement reached by the Clinton Foundation that will allow the sale of antiretroviral drugs efavirenz and abacavir, as well as HIV tests, at a lower cost in developing countries (Wilson, "All Things Considered," NPR, 1/12). This is the first time the foundation has reduced prices for second-line AIDS drugs, antiretrovirals taken by patients who have developed resistance to first-line treatments. Under the deal, the drug efavirenz will be produced by Indian companies Cipla, Ranbaxy Laboratories and Strides Arcolab, as well as South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare, for no more than $240 per patient annually. Cipla also will produce the drug abacavir for $447 per patient annually. These prices reduce by 30% or more the cost of medications that are already offered at reduced prices. In addition, rapid HIV tests will be produced for between 49 cents and 65 cents per test by Chembio Diagnostics, Orgenics, Qualpro Diagnostics and Shanghai Kehua Bio-Engineering. The foundation negotiated the terms by helping to obtain the drugs' ingredients at a lower cost. More than 240,000 people in the developing world, including Africa and the Caribbean, receive medications through the foundation's agreements (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/12). "Too many people die because they can't afford or don't have access to the drugs," Clinton said, adding, "Too many people are being infected because most of the people who have the virus today have not been tested" (Matthews, AP/Forbes.com, 1/12).