Clinton Foundation, Global Fund, World Bank, UNICEF Deal Offers ‘Needed Boost’ to HIV/AIDS Fight, Editorial Says
The announcement on Tuesday of an agreement between the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation, UNICEF, the World Bank and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to extend the discounted prices for antiretroviral drugs to more than 100 developing countries gave a "needed boost" to the "lagging worldwide fight against AIDS," a Charlotte Observer editorial says (Charlotte Observer, 4/8). The Clinton Foundation's HIV/AIDS Initiative in October 2003 secured a deal with five generic drug makers to reduce the cost of commonly used three-drug antiretroviral regimens. Under the new agreement, the pricing program is expected to be available to the more than 100 countries that receive aid from the Global Fund, World Bank and UNICEF. Under the agreement, fixed-dose combination antiretrovirals will be available at about $140 per person per year -- about one-third to one-half the cost of the lowest price currently offered (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/6). Meeting the World Health Organization's goal of providing antiretrovirals to three million people by 2005 "seems more feasible" with the low-cost drug agreement, according to the editorial. Although participating countries "do have to accept some conditions" -- including guaranteeing payment for the drugs in cash and taking steps to prevent reimportation into wealthy countries -- some developing countries see the agreement "as another lifeline against a scourge of enormous proportions," the editorial says. The Observer adds that the agreement should "nudge" President Bush to "make good" on his five-year, $15 billion pledge to combat HIV/AIDS in some African and Caribbean countries. The "partnership of the four foundations that brokered lower drug prices shows what can be accomplished by working together," the editorial says, concluding that the United States "must join the global effort to fight AIDS with much more vigor" (Charlotte Observer, 4/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.