Five Pharmaceutical Companies To Cut Antiretroviral Drug Prices for Central America
Five pharmaceutical companies -- Boehringer Ingleheim, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Roche and Merck -- on Wednesday agreed to reduce the cost of antiretroviral drugs by an average of 55% for six Central American countries, Xinhua News Agency reports (Xinhua News Agency, 1/30). The agreement, which was signed by pharmaceutical company representatives and health ministers from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Panama, will reduce the price of antiretroviral therapy from between $2,500 and $2,800 a year per patient to between $1,035 and $1,453 per year per person (Associated Press, 1/29). "With these prices we will be able to significantly expand the number of persons receiving antiretroviral treatment for HIV/AIDS in the region," Fernando Garcia, health minister from Panama, said (EFE News, 1/30). The agreement, coordinated by the Central American Social Integration Department and the Pan American Health Organization, requires the governments to also establish "clinical management, laboratory monitoring, infirmary and socio-emotional support," Xinhua News Agency reports (Xinhua News Agency, 1/30). According to U.N. figures, an estimated 180,000 people in Central America are HIV-positive and some 16,000 people have AIDS (EFE News, 1/30).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.