Back grey_arrow_rt.gif
Bill Clinton brokers deal for lower AIDS drug prices
  Tue May 8, 2007 6:03PM EDT
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, May 8 (Reuters) - Former President Bill Clinton announced deals with two Indian generic drug companies on Tuesday to cut prices of AIDS treatments for 66 developing countries, a move that could help nearly half a million patients.
The new prices for second line anti-retroviral drugs, which are required by patients who develop resistance to a previous drug regimen, will mean an average savings of 25 percent in low-income countries and 50 percent in middle-income countries, said Clinton, who announced the deal at the Clinton Foundation offices in New York.
These drugs are about 10 times the price of first-line treatments, he said, noting that nearly a half million patients will require these drugs by 2010.
"That's a very great strain on countries' health-care budgets, and governments fear all over the world that they will simply not be able to keep patients on treatment," he said.
The pact between the Clinton Foundation and Indian companies Cipla Ltd. (CIPL.BO: Quote, Profile, Research and Matrix Laboratories Ltd. (MAXL.BO: Quote, Profile, Research covers 66 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. HIV/AIDS is widespread in many countries in Africa and Southeast Asia.
The companies collaborated with the foundation to lower production costs, in part by securing lower prices for key raw materials and by addressing chemistry challenges, he said.
Clinton also said a new once-daily pill now prohibitively expensive in developing countries would be made available for less than $1 a day. He said the pill combines the drugs Tenofovir and Lamivudine and Efavirenz.
"This drug represents the best chance that science has to offer," said Clinton, who was joined by the health ministers of Thailand and Kenya, the chairman of Matrix and France's ambassador to the United States.
The new cost for this treatment of $339 per patient per year marks a 45 percent reduction from the current rate available to low-income countries and a 67 percent reduction from the price available to many middle-income countries, the foundation said.
The announcement is one of several price reductions the Clinton Foundation said its HIV/AIDS Initiative has helped broker since 2002. Some 750,000 people are receiving drug treatments for AIDS through the foundation, it said.
The AIDS virus infects nearly 39 million people globally, and has killed 25 million people since it was identified 25 years ago. Virtually all -- 95 percent -- of people infected with the virus live in the developing world.
Clinton said he supported Brazil and Thailand's efforts to challenge drug patents of big pharmaceutical companies.
Thailand this year issued licenses for cheap generic versions of Abbott Laboratories Inc.'s (ABT.N: Quote, Profile, Research Kaletra for HIV, and Brazil last week took a similar step with Merck & Co.'s (MRK.N: Quote, Profile, Research Efavirenz.
"I strongly support the position of the governments of Thailand and Brazil and their decision after futile negotiations to break these patents," said Clinton.
  icon paper stack View Older Articles   Back to Top