Five pharmaceutical companies to halve antiretroviral drug prices for central America

Five pharmaceutical companies – Boehringer Ingleheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Roche and Merck – have agreed to reduce the cost of antiretroviral drugs by an average of 55% for six Central American countries, Xinhua News Agency reports.

The agreement, which was signed by pharmaceutical company representatives and health ministers from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Panama, will reduce the price of antiretroviral therapy from between $2,500 and $2,800 a year per patient to between $1,035 and $1,453 per year per person, according to Associated Press.

“With these prices we will be able to significantly expand the number of persons receiving antiretroviral treatment for HIV/AIDS in the region,” Fernando Garcia, health minister from Panama, said. The agreement, coordinated by the Central American Social Integration Department and thePan American Health Organisation, requires the governments to also establish “clinical management, laboratory monitoring, infirmary and socio-emotional support.” According to UN figures, an estimated 180,000 people in central America are HIV-positive and some 16,000 people have AIDS.


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