August 7, 2009
Former President Bill Clinton on Thursday announced deals with drugmakers Matrix Laboratories and Pfizer to lower the cost of medications to treat patients with drug-resistant HIV in the developing world, Reuters reports (Honan, 8/6).
The agreement between the Clinton Foundation and Matrix (a subsidiary of Mylan) will lower the annual price of four second-line antiretrovirals -- atazanavir, ritonavir, tenofovir and lamivudine -- to $425 next year, and "the pills will be packaged together and sold as something patients can take once a day," the Associated Press/Seattle Times reports. The foundation says the 2010 cost for the four drugs "is 28 percent lower than the current lowest-priced alternative" (Hajela, 8/6). As part of the deal, Matrix will also "make ritonavir available in a heat-stable version more suitable for tropical climates," the Financial Times writes (Jack, 8/7). "If fully adopted the new regimen could lead to a cumulative cost savings of $400 million over the next five years compared with recent prices for alternative treatments," the Wall Street Journal writes (Stynes, 8/6).
Pfizer has agreed with the foundation to sell its "tuberculosis drug rifabutin at $1 per dose, a 60 percent price decrease, or $90 for a full, six-month treatment," the AP/Seattle Times writes. Unlike other TB treatments, "rifabutin does not have the same interactions with the second-line [ARV] drugs" (8/6).
"Today's announcement will help ensure we can sustain treatment over a lifetime and better treat patients with both HIV and TB, two key steps in turning the tide of the global HIV/AIDS pandemic," Clinton said, according to a press release (8/6).
Agence France-Presse reports that the reduced-cost HIV drugs will be available "to governments taking part in the Clinton Foundation's Procurement Consortium across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean." The lower price for rifabutin "will be available throughout developing markets in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and the Caribbean" (8/6).