Clinton Foundation announces significant price reductions for generic second-line drug and more tolerable first-line options
On May 8th, the Clinton HIV/ AIDS Initiative (CHAI), in partnership with UNITAID (an international drug purchase initiative) announced that it had reached an agreement with leading generic pharmaceutical manufacturers Cipla and Matrix, that resulted in major price reductions for 16 HIV drugs.
Included in this agreement are reduced prices for both second-line drugs (including heat stable lopinavir/r at $695 per year and tenofovir at $149 per year) and a one-pill, once-daily first-line formulation of tenofovir/3TC/efavirenz (at $339 per year).
In middle-income countries, in Latin America and Asia, treatment is much more expensive than in low income countries. But people living with HIV/AIDS in those countries are no less in need. It is CHAIs objective to ensure patients have access regardless of where they live.
This agreement is one in a series of price reductions CHAI has helped organise since 2002. Reducing the price of medicines is a key component to making high-quality treatment equally available to people in need across the developing world. In order to curb this pandemic, the best treatment and technology science has to offer should be available to everyone, and all drugs needed to fight HIV/AIDS must be available to the two million people now on treatment in developing countries and the five million more still waiting for access around the world.
Clinton also endorsed recent decisions by Thailand and Brazil to issue compulsory licenses for several medications, including some antiretrovirals, saying No company will live or die because of high price premiums for AIDS drugs in middle-income countries, but patients may.
Sources: Clinton Foundation press release and kaisernetwork.org
Equitable access to effective second-line therapy in most developing countries is dependent on a closer parity with cost of first-line drugs. This has long been an activist and community demand, and is highlighted by absence in the list of FDA approved generic drugs of both protease inhibitors and more recent RTIs like tenofovir.
The previous Clinton negotiated prices for first-line regimens were dependent on pre-paid bulk ordering and how countries access these new drugs is not yet clear, however, this announcement is the first step towards making this a reality.