Former US president Bill Clinton has once again lent a helping hand to HIV/ AIDS victims. After a fallout between the Brazil government and drug giant Merck over 'pricey' anti-retroviral drugs, the Clinton foundation has helped diffuse the situation. Clinching a deal with two Indian pharmaceutical companies Cipla and Matrix, Bill Clinton announced the tie-up with the companies to provide second-line AVR drugs and a next generation 'one-pill-a-day' drug.
Cipla and Matrix agreed to price their drugs on a "cost-plus" basis and collaborate with Clinton Foundation HIV and AIDS Initiative (CHAI) to lower production costs, in part, by securing lower prices for key raw materials and by addressing major chemistry challenges.
Advertisement"These agreements lower prices for 16 formulations of ARVs, which will be available to 66 developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean through the Clinton Foundation's Procurement Consortium," a release from CHAI added.
Bill Clinton was quoted:" Seven million people in the developing world are in need of treatment for HIV/AIDS. "We are trying to meet that need with the best medicine available today, and at prices that low-and middle-income countries can afford. I applaud Cipla and Matrix for their commitment to lower the cost of new drugs at the forefront of the fight against AIDS, and I thank UNITAID for the funds."
The AIDS virus infects nearly 39 million people globally, and has killed 25 million people since it was identified 25 years ago. Virtually all (95 percent) of people infected with the virus live in the developing world.
Experts say that by the year 2010, nearly half a million people in developing countries will need the drugs which currently cost far more money than the majority of developing countries can afford.
As Clinton was reported saying- companies will not live or die because of high price premiums for AIDS drugs in middle-income countries, but patients may.
The former US president states that while he upholds the belief in intellectual property and understands that manufacturers need to earn profits to keep the discovery and supply of AIDS drugs sustainable, that creed should not prevent essential life-saving medicines reaching those who need them in low and middle-income countries.