Caribbean Nations Reach Deal with Pharmaceutical Companies on Discounted AIDS Drugs
Fifteen Caribbean nations have reached a deal with six pharmaceutical companies that will allow the countries to purchase AIDS drugs at "steep discounts," the AP/New York Times reports (AP/New York Times, 7/7). Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Merck & Co., Abbott Laboratories, GlaxoSmithKline, Hoffman-LaRoche and Boehringer Ingelheim have agreed to allow the countries to negotiate as a group for drug discounts of up to 90%. The agreement will be signed at this week's XIV International AIDS Conference in Barcelona, Spain, according to Reuters (Reuters, 7/6). "It's a major victory for us as a region," Leslie Ramsammy, Guyana's health minister, said, adding that the drug companies "have agreed to deal with us as a region rather than individual countries as they had wanted to do originally." Although some pharmaceutical companies already provide discounted AIDS drugs in Africa and Asia, the Caribbean is "the first region in the world to succeed in being able to buy as a group rather than individual countries," Denzil Douglas, prime minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, said. The Caribbean, excluding Cuba, has the world's second-highest HIV infection rate after sub-Saharan Africa. Two percent of the adult population is HIV-positive (AP/New York Times, 7/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.