Clinton starts AIDS drugs deal


Summary

The deal covers second line anti-retroviral treatment for HIV/AIDS patients.

The deal, reached in partnership with international drugs organisation UNITAID and generic manufacturers Cipla and Matrix, would affect 66 developing nations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, he said.

Second-line treatment is required in patients who develop resistance to first-line drugs and costs around 10 times the price of the initial therapy.

"That's a very great strain on countries' healthcare budgets and governments fear all over the world that they will simply not be able to keep pace with some treatment," Mr Clinton told reporters in New York.

"The prices are simply exorbitant in middle-income countries like Brazil and Thailand. These countries are home to fully half the people on treatment."

"Our announcement today responds directly to these challenges and sets the foundation not only for treatment for many more people, but treatment that is
more equitable, more affordable and more effective," he added.

The prices of so-called second-line treatments negotiated by Mr Clinton's foundation would fall on average 25 percent in low-income countries and 50 percent in middle-income countries — where prices are currently higher — he said.

The generic drugs being bought are cheaper copies of medicines whose patent protection has either expired, been waived by the manufacturers or, in the case of India, where both Cipla and Matrix Laboratories are based, does not apply.

Mr Clinton's foundation had also negotiated a deal allowing the one-pill-a-day
first-line treatment to be made available for less than a dollar a day for developing countries — a 45 percent saving on the current price in Africa.

"This drug represents the best chance that science has to offer," he said of the first-line treatment.

The program aims to provide life-long treatment for those who need it, and of a standard that would be normal in the developed world, he said.

"When we started this endeavour at our foundation about five years ago, we
made a promise to people living with HIV: once you're on treatment, we'll keep the medicines coming and make sure that everyone else who needs them has access."

Mr Clinton also made a dig at pharmaceutical companies who refuse to allow
patented drugs to be made available as generic alternatives in poor countries.

"No company will ever die because of the high price premium for AIDS drugs in middle-income countries, but patients may," he said.

"I believe in intellectual property… but that need not prevent us from getting essential life-saving medicines to those who need them in low and middle income countries alike."

The Clinton foundation and UNITAID would begin to buy the reduced price drugs from July. The treatment would then be passed to some of the seven
million patients in developing countries who needed treatment, he said.

Mr Clinton's foundation, which he established after leaving office in 2001, aims to tackle "the challenges of global interdependence" faced by people
around the world. It currently provides drugs for 750,000 HIV/AIDS patients.

UNITAID was launched last year as an international drug purchasing facility funded by airline ticket levies. Some 34 countries have signed up as donors to
the organization, which has 300 million dollars in funding this year.

Although not part of the United Nations, the organisation works with UN
agencies such as the World Health Organisation.


The deal covers second line anti-retroviral treatment for HIV/AIDS patients.

The deal, reached in partnership with international drugs organisation UNITAID and generic manufacturers Cipla and Matrix, would affect 66 developing nations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, he said.

Second-line treatment is required in patients who develop resistance to first-line drugs and costs around 10 times the price of the initial therapy.

"That's a very great strain on countries' healthcare budgets and governments fear all over the world that they will simply not be able to keep pace with some treatment," Mr Clinton told reporters in New York.

"The prices are simply exorbitant in middle-income countries like Brazil and Thailand. These countries are home to fully half the people on treatment."

"Our announcement today responds directly to these challenges and sets the foundation not only for treatment for many more people, but treatment that is
more equitable, more affordable and more effective," he added.

The prices of so-called second-line treatments negotiated by Mr Clinton's foundation would fall on average 25 percent in low-income countries and 50 percent in middle-income countries — where prices are currently higher — he said.

The generic drugs being bought are cheaper copies of medicines whose patent protection has either expired, been waived by the manufacturers or, in the case of India, where both Cipla and Matrix Laboratories are based, does not apply.

Mr Clinton's foundation had also negotiated a deal allowing the one-pill-a-day
first-line treatment to be made available for less than a dollar a day for developing countries — a 45 percent saving on the current price in Africa.

"This drug represents the best chance that science has to offer," he said of the first-line treatment.

The program aims to provide life-long treatment for those who need it, and of a standard that would be normal in the developed world, he said.

"When we started this endeavour at our foundation about five years ago, we
made a promise to people living with HIV: once you're on treatment, we'll keep the medicines coming and make sure that everyone else who needs them has access."

Mr Clinton also made a dig at pharmaceutical companies who refuse to allow
patented drugs to be made available as generic alternatives in poor countries.

"No company will ever die because of the high price premium for AIDS drugs in middle-income countries, but patients may," he said.

"I believe in intellectual property… but that need not prevent us from getting essential life-saving medicines to those who need them in low and middle income countries alike."

The Clinton foundation and UNITAID would begin to buy the reduced price drugs from July. The treatment would then be passed to some of the seven
million patients in developing countries who needed treatment, he said.

Mr Clinton's foundation, which he established after leaving office in 2001, aims to tackle "the challenges of global interdependence" faced by people
around the world. It currently provides drugs for 750,000 HIV/AIDS patients.

UNITAID was launched last year as an international drug purchasing facility funded by airline ticket levies. Some 34 countries have signed up as donors to
the organization, which has 300 million dollars in funding this year.

Although not part of the United Nations, the organisation works with UN
agencies such as the World Health Organisation.