Caribbean Community Close To ‘Clinching Deal’ With Pharmaceutical Companies for Low-Cost Antiretroviral Drugs
The 15-nation Caribbean Community on Monday said that it was "about to clinch a deal" with pharmaceutical companies that would lower the cost of antiretroviral drugs for HIV-positive people in the region from $1,000 per person each year to $450 per person each year, Agence France-Presse reports. Caricom is exploring the possibility of combining research and development drugs with generic drugs in order to reach a "reasonable" treatment package price, according to Edward Greene, assistant secretary general for human and social development at Caricom. The Pan Caribbean Partnership on HIV/AIDS and six international pharmaceutical companies in July 2002 signed an agreement lowering the cost of an antiretroviral drug regimen to the current $1,000 per person each year. Caribbean countries said that the price negotiated last year was still "very expensive" in light of the recent economic downturn and the tourism slump that followed the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States. The William J. Clinton Foundation is facilitating the current round of talks (Agence France-Presse, 2/3). The Foundation and Caricom in August 2002 signed a memorandum of understanding committing the foundation to assist the region in procuring cheaper antiretroviral drugs for its estimated 500,000 HIV-positive residents (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/23/2002). The Clinton Foundation, Caricom and the pharmaceutical companies should reach an agreement by the end of March, according to Greene (Agence France-Presse, 2/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.