Six pharmaceutical companies from China and India have agreed to cut the price of a leading malaria treatment by 30 percent, former US President Bill Clinton has announced.
The firms have also reached an agreement to lower the price volatility of artemisinin, the key raw material for artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), by 70 percent, said Clinton, whose charitable foundation helped broker the deal.
"Nearly every life lost to malaria could have been saved with access to effective medicines," Clinton said in a statement.
"Today's announcement is an important step forward in global efforts to increase access to affordable and effective malaria treatment," he said.
"I applaud the commitments of these companies to lower volatility in this market and offer low and sustainable prices that will save more lives."
The companies taking part in the agreement include the Mumbai-based firms Calyx, Mangalam, Icpa and Cipla as well as China's Holleypharm in Chongqing and PIDI Standard in Guangzhou.
The deal will make the lower prices for the drug treatment available in 69 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Clinton Foundation said.
The price of artemisinin, a plant extract used to make anti-malaria drugs, has fluctuated by more than 700 percent due to a rapid but uneven increase in demand, the foundation said.
The Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis, the leading ACT supplier, absorbed much of the financial impact of the fluctuation to shield patients from higher prices, it said.