HIV :: Next generation HIV/AIDS treatment now less than $1 a day

US Bill Clinton announced new agreements that significantly lower the price of AIDS treatment for second-line anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs), drugs required in patients who develop resistance to first-line treatment and which currently cost 10 times the price of first-line therapy.

These agreements lower the prices for 16 formulations of ARVs that will generate an average savings of 25 percent in low-income countries and 50 percent in middle-income countries. Reduced prices will be available to 66 developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean through the Clinton Foundation?s Procurement Consortium.

Citing the importance of keeping AIDS treatment affordable, President Clinton also announced the ?next generation? first-line treatment, taken once daily, is now less than $1 under new agreements. The equivalent product in the U.S., launched in July 2006, is widely perceived as a gold-standard treatment, as it offers greater convenience, fewer side effects, and improved treatment outcomes in comparison to the regimen used most commonly in developing countries.

President Clinton was joined at the announcement by Thailand Minister of Health Mongkol Na Songkhla and Kenyan Minister of Health Charity Ngilu, who both praised the Clinton Foundation for its efforts that have given Thailand, Kenya and dozens of other countries the opportunity to expand life-saving treatment and give thousands of people a chance at life.

UNAIDS and the Global Fund have come out in support of the new agreements.

?It can be hard to take AIDS drugs properly, and even when people do, they develop resistance over time, and need new medication,? said Michael Kazatchkine, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. ?Today?s announcement means progress on both: lower prices for state of the art once a day combinations, and lower prices for second-line treatment. Thanks to the Clinton Foundation and UNITAID, developing countries and the Global Fund won?t have to choose as much between continuing treatment for people who need new drugs, and putting new people on treatment. This means programs supported by the Global Fund will be able to save more lives.?

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