Clinton Foundation Deal Will Reduce Price of Viral Load, CD4+ Tests for Developing Countries by as Much as 80%
January 15, 2004
As expected, former President Bill Clinton on Wednesday at a press conference in New York announced a deal between the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation and five medical technology companies -- Beckman Coulter, Becton, Dickinson & Co., Roche Molecular Diagnostics, Bayer HealthCare and bioMerieux -- that will cut the prices of viral load and CD4+ T cell diagnostic tests in developing nations by as much as 80%, Reuters/Washington Post reports (Reuters/Washington Post, 1/15). Although HIV diagnostics have not received the same media attention as antiretroviral drugs, they are a significant part of the cost of HIV/AIDS treatment and limited funding has lead doctors in some developing nations to stop administering viral load tests and to make limited use of CD4+ tests. The tests -- which are standard in the United States -- help doctors determine when to begin administering antiretroviral drugs and whether the drugs are working (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/14). Under the new agreements, the cost of CD4+ tests will drop from $8 to $10 per test to $3 to $5 per test, BD Chair and CEO Edward Ludwig said. Roche Molecular Diagnostics Vice President Robin Toft would not discuss in detail the price agreement on the more expensive viral load test but said that the price would be 20% lower than what the company is currently charging developing nations (Dugger, New York Times, 1/15). The companies will not require up-front payment for the expensive testing equipment and will delay payment collection until the system is in place and staff are trained, according to the Associated Press (Dobnik, Associated Press, 1/14).
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