TIME Europe Interviews Former President Clinton About Deal To Cut Prices of Generic AIDS Drugs in Africa, Caribbean
The Nov. 3 issue of TIME Europe featured an interview with former President Bill Clinton about his foundation's recently announced program to secure antiretroviral drugs from generic drug manufacturers at discounted prices and to implement nationwide treatment plans in four African and more than 12 Caribbean nations (Pooley, TIME Europe, 11/3). The William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative last month secured a deal with Indian generic drug manufacturers Ranbaxy Laboratories, Cipla and Matrix Laboratories and South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare that will reduce the cost of commonly used three-drug regimens to 38 cents per patient per day, down from the already discounted price of 55 cents per patient per day; the lowest available price of the same three-drug regimen using brand-name antiretrovirals is $1.54 per patient per day. In addition to reducing the cost of the three-drug antiretroviral regimen, the deal will reduce by half the cost of the antiretroviral drug nevirapine for people in developing nations. The initial pricing agreement covers drugs used in two common, three-drug regimens: stavudine, lamivudine and nevirapine; and zidovudine, lamivudine and nevirapine (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/24).
Clinton estimated that the treatment programs will cost $700 million over the next five years, and he said that Ireland and Canada have agreed to fund two of the African programs. Clinton added that "six or seven" other governments have approached him about helping fund the programs. Clinton said that he "kept on working" on getting South African President Thabo Mbeki, who has been criticized for resisting implementing a national treatment program and questioning the link between HIV and AIDS, to agree to work with the foundation. Clinton said that Mbeki had a "legitimate substantive issue" for his beliefs because South Africa previously had provided antituberculosis medications without a proper protocol, "spawning some more virulent, drug-resistant strains." He added, "Now we're just waiting for the South African government to approve their final plan" (TIME Europe, 11/3).