Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Ivory Coast Bets on Bargaining Power for Best AIDS Drug Deal
Ivory Coast is a "pioneer" in bargaining for low-cost antiretroviral drugs and "quietly imports knockoff generic HIV drugs as it has for years -- without fuss, patent payments or apologies," the AP/Baltimore Sun reports. National AIDS Program Director Kassim Sidibe said yesterday, "Our concern is what we can do for our people. The lower the prices are for us, the better for our people. ... We bargain until we get the minimum price." By taking the lowest bid from generic drug makers, Ivory Coast has become one of the first African countries to "negotiate at-cost deals for leading HIV drugs," and bargaining with multinational drug makers has brought the average monthly therapy cost down 20% to $410 per person. Because Western drug giants are facing increasing pressure from generic manufacturers and AIDS activists, particularly in supplying drugs at or below cost in
South Africa, the country anticipates reducing monthly treatments to between $88 and $112 next year.
Uganda have "similar" deals with brand-name drug companies, as negotiation "without regard for patent rights comes easier in the many sub-Saharan countries that are poorer than South Africa and perhaps less conscious of staying on the right side of international investors," the AP/Baltimore Sun reports. "We feel drug makers should make profits in Europe and North America. Not from us. We don't have anything," Sidibe said. With the savings expected from these concessions, Ivory Coast hopes to treat three times the number of HIV-positive patients this year. However, that figure is only 3,000 out of the one million infected in the small African nation, program official Makan Coulabily explained (AP/Baltimore Sun, 3/20).
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.