Former President Clinton Visits Generic Drug Maker Ranbaxy in India, Shows Support for Lower-Cost AIDS Drugs
Former President Bill Clinton on Friday visited Indian generic drug Ranbaxy Laboratories' pharmaceutical plant in Gurgaon, India, to show support for Indian companies that have agreed to manufacture low-cost generic antiretroviral drugs for nationwide HIV/AIDS treatment plans in four African and more than 12 Caribbean countries, the Associated Press reports (George, Associated Press, 11/21). The William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative last month secured a deal with Ranbaxy, Indian generic drug manufacturers 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. 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 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/3). Clinton on Friday said that his foundation's initiative will reduce antiretroviral drug costs in developing countries to $139 per person annually, according to the Associated Press.
Treatment Important for Prevention
"There are six million people in the world who need medication for HIV/AIDS, of whom only about 300,000 are getting antiretroviral drugs," Clinton said, adding, "[The initiative] cuts costs of HIV/AIDS drugs by two-thirds, making it affordable for a maximum number of people, considering the staggering dimension of this problem" (Associated Press, 11/21). Clinton said the agreement will make antiretroviral drugs available to two million people worldwide in the next four to five years, according to rediff.com (Joseph, rediff.com, 11/21). Clinton added that making antiretroviral drugs available is "very important" for HIV/AIDS prevention, adding, "The incentive to get tested if you're going to find out you can live a normal life and by taking proper precautions you can prevent the infection is quite high" (Agence France-Presse, 11/21). During his trip to India, Clinton is expected to meet with Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and other government representatives in New Delhi (rediff.com, 11/21).