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UNITAID to Provide USD 77 million For Better HIV Medicines

Improving Lives of Hundreds of Thousands

Geneva – 11 June 2013 UNITAID has committed funds of up to USD 77 million to provide a newer antiretroviral regimen for hundreds of thousands of people in developing countries living with HIV.  This will replace an older treatment which has life-threatening and disfiguring side effects.  The effort will enable better access to the new medicines by stimulating market competition and reducing prices by at least 30%, and is in strategic collaboration with the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.  The new tenofovir-based treatment regimen is recommended by WHO.

Despite WHO recommending the new regimen, an estimated one million people in developing countries are still on stavudine-based treatment.  Stavudine was once the standard of care but it is no longer recommended by WHO because of severe and disfiguring side effects. At more than US$ 150 per person per year, tenofovir-based treatment taken as a single pill once daily is over twice the price of stavudine-based treatment, which costs less than US$ 60. This poses a challenge for countries which have already set their treatment budgets based on the lower-priced treatment.

UNITAID’s proposed intervention would address this challenge through negotiating with manufacturers for lower prices and temporarily subsidizing the difference between stavudine and tenofovir-based treatment. Various stakeholders would be involved with implementing this proposal, including UNITAID, WHO, the Global Fund, and the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).


Contact: Clare Courtney, UNITAID Communications, Tel. +41 22 791 45 81; Mob. +41 79 445 22 80; Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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