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Global Treatment Access: Call for 95% Price Reduction; New GTAC Organization Web Site

December 1, 2000

Shortly before World AIDS Day (December 1), a coalition of AIDS and health groups including MSF (Médecins Sans Frontièrs, or Doctors Without Borders) called on pharmaceutical companies to reduce prices of AIDS drugs 95% in poor countries -- reductions comparable to those already in use for vaccines and contraceptives. MSF has carefully compiled information from generic drug manufacturers and other sources which indicates that the drugs could be sold profitably at that price. Price reductions up to 85% have already been offered by some companies, but even then drug costs approach $1,000 to treat each patient for one year -- much too expensive for most individuals and governments in poor countries.

The changing standard of care in rich countries (with doctors now waiting longer to begin antiretroviral treatment, reducing the number of patients who need to be treated), and possibly structured treatment interruption (see "Structured Treatment Interruption: Important Controlled Trial in Monkeys" in this issue) may also help to reduce costs, making top-quality treatment available for many patients who would otherwise have none. (These factors may not have been taken into account in the UNAIDS estimate of several billion dollars annually for "making a start" on antiretroviral therapy for sub-Saharan Africa.)

For recent information on international treatment-access activism, see the new Web site of the Global Treatment Access Campaign (GTAC),

Note: While this issue is dated December 1, it went to press too early to include announcements and other news released on that day.

ISSN # 1052-4207

Copyright 2000 by John S. James. Permission granted for noncommercial reproduction, provided that our address and phone number are included if more than short quotations are used.

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