May 10, 2007

AIDS medicines to cost less

Come July, the second line of anti retroviral drugs will become cheaper.

After negotiations facilitated by the Clinton foundation, companies like Cipla and Matrix have decided to cut prices by half.

The landmark decision will help millions of people living with HIV across the world. The price advantage will be available in 66 countries where these drug majors sell anti-aids drugs.

''We announce initial price reductions for second line medicines that will generate average savings of 25 per cent in low income nations, and up to 50 per cent below the price now available in middle income nations.

''This has been made possible by the UN, with which my foundation is partnering in a $100 million program. We're also announcing, in partnership with our suppliers Matrix and Cipla, uniform pricing for all these drugs across these countries,'' said Bill Clinton, Former US President.

In India however, patients are not receiving second line drugs.

Around 70,000 AIDS patients receive free first line treatment in government facilities while 35,000 patients in the private market spend Rs 1200 per month on drugs.

Second line drugs are exorbitant and currently cost between Rs 7,000- 8,000 per month.

The decision to cut prices could help governments in developing countries to procure second line drugs at a much cheaper rate, allowing the roll out of these drugs sooner than planned.

India has 5.4 million HIV positive people, most of whom do not have access to any drugs.

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