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 Thursday 13 August 2009
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GLOBAL: Clinton Foundation closes deal to slash cost of second-line ARVs

Photo: UN
The Clinton Foundation has enabled two million people to access ARVs
NAIROBI, 7 August 2009 (PlusNews) - The Clinton Foundation has announced agreements with two drug companies to bring the cost of second-line antiretrovirals (ARVs) to under US$500 per person annually and reduce the cost of a key tuberculosis (TB) drug to $1 per dose.

"Today's announcement will help ensure we can sustain treatment over a lifetime, and better treat patients with both HIV and TB, two key steps in turning the tide of the global HIV/AIDS pandemic," former United States President Bill Clinton said at the Foundation's headquarters in New York.

Starting in 2010, pharmaceutical company Mylan and its subsidiary, Matrix, will make available four second-line drugs – atazanavir, ritonavir, tenofovir and lamivudine – at a cost of $425 per person per year.

Matrix's new product will allow patients to take three pills once a day instead of five or more pills twice a day. The product will also include the first ever version of ritonavir that does not require continuous refrigeration, making transport and distribution in developing countries much easier.

Pfizer pharmaceuticals will reduce the price by 60 percent and expand the availability of rifabutin, which is used to treat TB in patients taking second-line ARVs. TB is the leading cause of death among people living with HIV.

"At the moment, second-line ARVs in Kenya cost $1,000 per person per year, while first-line ARVs cost under $100," said James Kamau, coordinator of the Kenya Treatment Access Movement, who has been on first-line ARVs for the past eight years.

"Even if 10 percent of the 260,000 people on ARVs needed second-line drugs today, it would cost more to put them on second-line drugs than all those on first-line ARVs."

He said the lower cost of second-line drugs would save countless lives, and "This price reduction is therefore fantastic news."

In 2008 the UN World Health Organization estimated that only about two percent of patients in low- and middle-income countries were on second-line ARVs, but the number was rising because every year about three percent of ARV patients switched from first- to second-line treatment.


Theme(s): (PLUSNEWS) Care/Treatment - PlusNews, (PLUSNEWS) HIV/AIDS (PlusNews)


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
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