Latin American Countries, Pharmaceutical Companies Sign Antiretroviral Drug Discount Agreement
Health ministers from Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela on Thursday signed a collective agreement with several generic and brand name pharmaceutical manufacturers to secure lower prices for antiretroviral drugs and reactives used to diagnose HIV infection, Reuters Health reports. The companies -- Abbott, Bayer, Becton Dickinson, Biomerieux, Roche Diagnostics, Richmond, Refasa, Combino Pharm, Ranbaxy, Rontag, Cipla and Filaxis -- agreed to a maximum referential common price for all of the countries. Previously, all of the countries had paid different prices for the same drugs, with some countries paying up to 10 times more than others, according to a recent survey conducted by the Pan American Health Organization. Under the agreement, which will be valid for the next year, the companies must offer the same maximum price to all of the countries, but individual countries will still be allowed to negotiate further discounts. The agreement will save the countries' governments up to 72% on antiretrovirals and up to 60% on reactives and will allow for the inclusion of more than 150,000 people in treatment programs, according to a document released at the end of the meeting. "This is one of the most ambitious agreements reached so far in the world between governments and laboratories. It will allow HIV treatments at sustainable costs for Latin American countries," Anabella Arredondo, director of the Chilean National Committee on AIDS, said. Based on the outcome of the negotiations, the health ministers proposed the development of a similar international policy (Argandona, Reuters Health, 6/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.