Jamaica Signs First Global Fund Grant Agreement That Uses Antiretroviral Drug Prices Negotiated by Clinton Foundation
Jamaica is the first country to sign a Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria grant agreement that proposes using the prices for antiretroviral drugs and diagnostic tests negotiated by the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation, the U.N. News Centre reports (U.N. News Centre, 5/18). 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. The foundation in April agreed to a pricing program making fixed-dose combination antiretrovirals available in more than 100 countries at about one-third to one-half of the cost of the lowest price currently offered (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/10). Jamaican Minster of Health John Junor and Ambassador Ransford Smith on Monday in Geneva signed the grant agreement, which includes $7.5 million over the first two years for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs. Of the approximately 22,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Jamaica, 6,000 require antiretroviral treatment; however, only 500 HIV-positive people in the country currently receive the medications (Global Fund release, 5/18). The programs will provide 2,000 HIV-positive people access to antiretroviral treatment during the first two years and make provisions to ensure that every HIV-positive person who needs treatment will receive it by 2008, according to the Jamaica Observer (Jamaica Observer, 5/18). Jamaican National AIDS Program Executive Director Dr. Yitades Gebre said, "In the last 15 years our program has been driven by education and prevention, and in the last two years by treatment," adding, "But we were unable to scale up necessary life-saving interventions due to resource constraints. With this grant we can take our response to a much higher level of saving lives" (Global Fund release, 5/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.