Rwanda to Receive AIDS Drugs Discount
Under pressure to cut the cost of AIDS drugs in Africa, four antiretroviral drug manufacturers -- GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck and Boehringer Ingelheim -- are "close to striking" a reduced-price supply agreement with Rwanda, a UNAIDS official said today. The discount deal, the "third of its kind," would lower costs by 60%-90% of the drugs' "world price," a reduction that Senegal and Uganda already receive. Last May, five drug makers offered HIV treatments to African nations at steep discounts, but "progress since then has proved slow," as the firms have required safeguards ensuring that the discounted drugs do not "flood back" into European and North American markets. Despite having the highest number of HIV cases in Africa, South Africa has not enrolled in the UNAIDS Accelerating Access program. Instead, the country is on a "collision course" with drug companies after more than 40 firms filed a lawsuit against the government for allegedly violating the companies' intellectual property rights with its plan to import or locally manufacture generic AIDS drugs (Reuters/BayArea.com, 1/25).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.