May 12, 1999
- Bristol-Myers announces five-year donation of $100 million to fight AIDS in Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, and South Africa.
April 4, 2000
- Pfizer offers free fluconazole to South Africans with AIDS suffering from cryptococcal meningitis.
- Five pharmaceutical companies (Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers, Merck, Glaxo and Roche) offer steep cuts (up to 80%-90%) in price of AIDS drugs for Africa.
- Doctors Without Borders/MSF releases report of country drug price differentials.
- "Bristol-Myers Finds Pledging AIDS Aid Is Easier Than Giving It" (Wall Street Journal headline)
"Mr. Baralengwa soon learned that the gift came with many strings attached. . . . A close look at Bristol-Myers's project shows the pitfalls that ensue when a big-pocketed foreign corporation, well-meaning but with little or no experience in Africa, brings its money and management style to Africa's AIDS epidemic."
- Boehringer Ingelheim announces it will give nevirapine to Africa free for 5 years for use in blocking vertical transmission of HIV from infected pregnant women to their unborn children.
- World Bank officials say they will make available $500 million in the form of 40-year loans to African countries setting up national AIDS programs.
- "Africans Fear Costs of Free AIDS Drug" (Washington Post headline)
"At roughly $4 a dose, nevirapine is within the budget of many developing countries. However, those who might find its cost a burden are likely to be those without sufficient clinical laboratories and other medical infrastructure to make full use of the offer to get it free."
- The South African-based Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) announces it will take legal action against Pfizer to seek compulsory license to allow South African companies to produce cheaper copies of fluconazole. The group also announced plans to import the drug from other countries where it is less costly.
- U.S. offers African nations $1 billion a year in loans to finance the purchase of AIDS drugs.
- South African nations (to date, South Africa and Namibia) reject U.S. loan offer to buy AIDS drugs, politely explaining that the last thing they need at this time is more debt.