- October 23 - In a dramatic breakthrough for the fight against global AIDS, the Clinton Foundation announced today that it had secured price reductions with major generic producer so that the average daily cost of triple-therapy falls to $.36 a day. Activists state that the low-cost high quality generics available through the Clinton initiative may be prohibited by the trade policies being sought by the Bush White House.
"The candidates for 2004, including President Bush, must pledge to reverse the current trade policies that place patents over the lives of millions of people with AIDS," stated Paul Davis from Health GAP. "We are faced with the most devastating crisis in history, and the White House is most concerned with campaign contributions from the drug industry."
"Access to generics again proven to be crucial not only because of price reductions but only generic companies are willing to produce triple-dose medicines in a single pill that ease patient treatment and compliance in resource poor settings," said Asia Russell of Health GAP. "And yet access to generics is compromised by the Bush administration's unrelenting efforts to enhance intellectual property protections and drug company profits in trade negotiations with Central America, the South African Customs Union, and in the FTAA," said Russell.
"President Bush has talked a good talk about the global AIDS pandemic, but his actions speak louder. He reduced his 2004 promise from $3 billion to $2 billion, undermined the cash-strapped Global AIDS Fund, and pursues trade policeis that will deny access to affordable generics," stated Health GAP's Sharonann Lynch. "Bush announced his 'emergency' plan in January of 2003, but so far has only managed to hire a pharmaceutical executive as his global AIDS czar."
CLINTON FOUNDATION ANNOUNCEMENT:
Clinton Foundation Announces Agreement To
Cut Price Of AIDS Drugs In Half
Lower Priced Medicine Means Drugs Can Be Made More Widely Available To Those Who Need It In Developing World
New York, NY -- Former President Bill Clinton announced today that his Foundation has reached an agreement with drug manufacturers to cut the price of AIDS medicine in half. As a result, it will be easier to make life-saving drugs widely available to people with AIDS in the developing world.
The agreement covers antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) delivered to people in Africa and the Caribbean where the William J. Clinton Foundation is working with governments and organizations to set up country-wide integrated care, treatment and prevention programs.
"This agreement will allow the delivery of life-saving medicines to people who desperately need them," President Clinton said. "It represents a big breakthrough in our efforts to begin treatment programs in places where, until now, there has been virtually no medicine, and therefore no hope."
Under the Clinton Foundation agreement, the price of one of the commonly used triple drug therapy combinations will drop from approximately $300 per person per year to less than $140 per person per year. This means that these drugs will be available for as little as 36-38 cents per person per day.
The drug manufacturers that are signing the agreement with the Clinton Foundation include: Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd, of Johannesburg South Africa; Cipla Ltd, of Mumbai, India; Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd., of Delhi, India; and Matrix Laboratories Ltd, of Hyderabad, India; Antiretroviral drugs from these companies have been certified to be of high quality by the World Health Organization and the Medicines Control Council of South Africa.
The Clinton Foundation has been working with the companies on this agreement over the course of the past nine months, focusing on ways to reduce their costs and scale up production of the so-called "triple drug cocktails," which can substantially extend the lives of people living with AIDS and help prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
"The crisis of AIDS in the developing world requires an emergency response from the global community," President Clinton said. "I applaud these manufacturers for doing the right thing." Worldwide, from five to six million people with AIDS currently need treatment to save their lives; with more than 40 million people infected with the HIV virus, that number will rise substantially in just a few years. However, only about 300,000 people in the developing world are receiving ARVs, with most of them in Brazil. In sub-Saharan Africa, only about 50,000 people are on ARVs, with 4 million in need of the medicine today.
Along with its drug procurement activities, the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative is pioneering a new approach to launching robust and comprehensive systems for HIV and AIDS care and treatment in the developing world. A coalition of volunteer experts in business; health care management and education; and AIDS care, treatment and research form multidisciplinary teams that provide technical assistance to governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector.
The Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative has been at work for the past year helping individual governments in Africa and the Caribbean to develop scalable AIDS care, treatment and prevention strategies. In the Caribbean, the Foundation is working with nine countries and three territories which together have over 90 percent of people living with AIDS in the Caribbean. In Africa, the Foundation is working with Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania which together have about 33% of all people living with AIDS in Africa. These countries will have access to lower priced drugs under this agreement.
The Clinton Foundation is working in close cooperation with the World Health Organization on its 3X5 program to scale-up AIDS care and treatment and with other organizations such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and TB and UNAIDS. Through its collaboration with the WHO and the Global Fund, the Foundation hopes to extend the benefits of this program to other countries and organizations that provide treatment in the developing world.
The Clinton Foundation is not receiving any compensation in connection with its HIV/AIDS Initiative. The Foundation has raised external funds to aid in the implementation of all its HIV/AIDS Initiative programs. For example, the governments of Canada and Ireland have committed to support Clinton Foundation-related programs in Mozambique and Tanzania. Funds from donor countries for the treatment programs go directly to the governments involved.
Providing treatment to people with AIDS, besides saving many lives, is a crucial ingredient in preventing the spread of HIV. The possibility of living a longer, healthier life gives people a much greater incentive to be tested for HIV. Once brought in for testing and, if needed, treatment, people potentially at risk of getting or transmitting HIV can be educated about safe sex and other prevention measures.
In addition, other countries and organizations that provide treatment in the developing world and that have instituted appropriate safeguards can also access these prices through the Clinton Foundation.
Ira Magaziner serves as Chairman of the HIV/AIDS Initiative. The Clinton Foundation has created an HIV/AIDS Treatment Consortium to help carry out its treatment plans in the developing world. Its partners include: Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health; the Harvard AIDS Institute; the Harvard Medical School Division of AIDS; Health Alliance International at the University of Washington; Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation; Partners in Health; PharmAccess of the Netherlands; and University Research Corporation.