HIV/AIDS Initiative Aims To Help Deliver Life-Saving Medicine To Two Million People In Africa And The Caribbean In Next Five Years
Former President Bill Clinton announced today that his Foundation has reached an agreement with drug manufacturers on a major reduction in the price of AIDS medicine. As a result, it will be easier to make life-saving drugs more 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 Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative is working with governments and organizations to set up country-wide integrated care, treatment and prevention programs. It is hoped that up to 2 million people will be receiving medicine by the year 2008.
"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."
As an example, under the Clinton Foundation agreement, the price of one of the commonly used triple drug therapy combinations will be substantially reduced, available for less than $140 per person per year. That translates into a cost of just 36-to-38 cents per person per day. Overall, the Clinton Foundation agreement will be reducing by one-third to one-half the current price of drugs in the developing world.
The drug manufacturers that are signing agreements 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. ARVs from these companies have been assessed to meet international quality standards by the World Health Organization and/or the Medicines Control Council of South Africa
The Clinton Foundation has been working toward this agreement over the course of the past seven months, focusing on ways to reduce 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 living with AIDS currently need treatment to save their lives; with more than 40 million people infected with HIV, that number will rise substantially in just a few years. However, only about 300,000 people in the developing world are receiving ARVs, with more than a third 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 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% 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 program.
The Clinton Foundation is working in close cooperation with the World Health Organization and UNAIDS on the "3 by 5" program to scale-up AIDS care and treatment. It is also working with other organizations, such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Through its collaboration with the WHO, UNAIDS and the The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), the Foundation hopes to extend the benefits of this program to other countries and organizations that provide treatment in the developing world and that have instituted appropriate safeguards.
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.
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 (HAI) with the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine; Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation; Partners in Health (PIH),; PharmAccess of the Netherlands; and University Research Corporation (URC). The law firm of Baker & Hostetler provided free legal services in conjunction with the agreements announced today.
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