Clinton Foundation to Announce Deal Reducing Price of Viral Load, CD4+ Tests for Developing Countries
January 14, 2004
The William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation on Wednesday plans to announce a deal with Beckman Coulter, Becton, Dickinson & Co., Roche Diagnostics, Bayer HealthCare and bioMerieux that will cut the prices of viral load and CD4+ T cell diagnostic tests in developing nations, the Wall Street Journal reports. Although HIV diagnostics have failed to receive the same media attention as antiretroviral drugs, they are a "big part" of the cost of HIV/AIDS treatment, according to the Journal. The prices of the tests are prohibitively expensive in some developing nations, leading doctors to stop administering viral load tests and making 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. Under the new deal, the companies will offer developing countries special pricing on a package including the tests, the machines for running them, training, maintenance and repair of the machines, chemical reagents and other supplies. The countries will receive the equipment without any downpayments and will instead "pay as they go" using a per-test fee, according to the Journal. Per-test charges for the CD4+ tests will range from $3 to $5, down from an average price in some African nations of $8 to $10. In one South African clinic, the test costs $15. However, the companies say that the nature of the package deal makes such comparisons misleading. For example, the vast majority of Becton Dickinson's African customers purchase the test kits separately from the expensive machines used to process them, the company said. Under the agreement, the pricing of the viral load tests is confidential.
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.