Print this page    •   Back to Web version of article

International News
Bloomberg BusinessWeek Explores Growing Trend in Pharma to License, Donate HIV Drugs

August 6, 2010

"Pharmaceutical companies, once blasted as uncaring or downright greedy for charging thousands of dollars for a year's worth of AIDS medicines ... in poor countries, lately have been slashing prices and licensing their drugs for free or nominal cost to nonprofits or local manufacturers in the developing world," Bloomberg BusinessWeek writes in an analysis piece that examines how this trend, combined with a growing capability among aid agencies to distribute drugs, has the potential to increase access to HIV/AIDS drugs worldwide.

Advertisement

The piece highlights agreements between pharmaceutical companies and nonprofit groups, like the one that made possible the clinical trial of an antiretroviral-containing vaginal gel in South Africa that was found to reduce HIV transmission in women. "Gilead, which logged almost $6 billion in AIDS-drugs sales last year, donated the gel's key ingredient, sold in the U.S. as a pill called Viread, and granted a royalty-free license to Conrad, a nonprofit reproductive-health organization that plans to distribute the product in Africa," the news service writes. The article also highlights the ongoing discussions between UNITAID and several pharmaceutical companies about the formation of a "patent pool" to "license drugs in development to generic makers who could sell medicines at lower prices than possible for the large companies."

Bloomberg BusinessWeek lists key points in HIV/AIDS drug pricing history: "As prices fell, demand increased, yielding economies of scale that have helped lower prices further, says Michael Kazatchkine, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria," the article notes. "The bottom line: By licensing AIDS drugs at little cost for use in the Third World, drugmakers get favorable press and don't bear distribution costs," the article concludes (Bennett/Randall, 8/5).

Back to other news for August 2010


This information was reprinted from kff.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery. © Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.




This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report. You can find this article online by typing this address into your Web browser:
http://www.thebody.com/content/art57993.html

General Disclaimer: TheBody.com is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. The information provided through TheBody.com should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, consult your health care provider.