Caribbean Community Secures Cheaper Antiretrovirals Following Negotiations With Pharmaceutical Companies
The Caribbean Community on Wednesday announced that it has reached an agreement with several leading pharmaceutical companies to purchase antiretroviral drugs at reduced costs for people in the region who are living with HIV/AIDS, EFE News Service reports. Edward Greene, assistant secretary general for human and social development of CARICOM, said that the price of combination antiretroviral treatment is now $800 per person per year, down from last year's annual price of $1,000 per person. CARICOM signed the deal with Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Roche and Abbott Laboratories. The William J. Clinton Foundation, which organized the talks in collaboration with CARICOM and the Pan American Health Organization, told the companies that the countries in the region would have to resort to purchasing or manufacturing generic drugs if the prices were not further reduced -- a "major negotiating strateg[y]," according to Greene. Greene said that he expects similar statements will be made at negotiations among the companies, Haiti and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, which are expected to be completed by the end of May. The Bahamas is the first Caribbean nation to benefit from the price reduction because the country already has a drug distribution plan in place (EFE News Service, 4/23). The Clinton Foundation recently assisted the Bahamian government in creating a business plan that calls for the provision of antiretroviral therapy for all HIV-positive people within three years (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/8). Guyana, which has one of the highest AIDS prevalence rates in the region, is required to update CARICOM on its progress in its attempted production of generic drugs before benefiting from the negotiated prices. There are at least 420,000 HIV-positive people in the Caribbean, making it the second most affected region in the world after sub-Saharan Africa (EFE News Service, 4/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.