UNITAID and the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI) have announced new agreements with generic drug manufacturers that will significantly reduce the price of second-line antiretroviral drugs and make available six new and more affordable child-friendly formulations.
Required by patients who develop resistance to first-line treatment, second-line treatment currently costs five to ten times more than first-line therapy in low-income countries. According to CHAI, nearly 500,000 patients will require these drugs by 2010. In partnership with UNITAID, CHAI negotiated new prices that will reduce the cost of the most widely used generic second-line regimen by 19 percent, compared to prices announced by the two groups in May 2007. In addition, six new formulations that are more convenient and easier for children to take will be added to UNITAID's pediatric AIDS treatment project.
In total, the new agreements include some forty ARV formulations, representing average price reductions of 22 percent in low-income countries and 34 percent in middle-income countries relative to prevailing market rates. CHAI will use UNITAID funds to procure the new drugs, which will benefit countries supported by UNITAID and CHAI's Procurement Consortium, including those in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
"Today's announcement is an important step in helping to save the millions of children and adults infected with HIV in the developing world who still lack access to life-saving drugs," said former President Bill Clinton. "It is a testament to the will of governments and partners that we have been able to broaden the reach of our pediatric and second-line AIDS treatment projects so rapidly. I am proud that my foundation is working with UNITAID to optimize the use of available resources and to more effectively serve patients."