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).
For more info: www.unitaid.org