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About UNITAID

Better products. Better prices. Better access.

UNITAID uses innovative financing to increase funding for greater access to treatments and diagnostics for HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in low-income countries. UNITAID is the first global health organisation to use buy-side market leverage to make life-saving health products better and more affordable for developing countries.

Based in Geneva and hosted by the World Health Organization, approximately half of UNITAID’s finances come from a levy on air tickets.

Innovation for Better Health

UNITAID was established in 2006 by the governments of Brazil, Chile, France, Norway and the United Kingdom as the “International Drug Purchasing Facility.” Today it is backed by an expanding “North-South” membership, including Cyprus, Korea, Luxembourg, Spain and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation alongside Cameroon, Congo, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius and Niger. Civil society groups also govern UNITAID, giving a voice to non-governmental organisations and communities living with HIV, malaria and tuberculosis.

UNITAID has been entrusted by these members to use innovative financing– the world’s first “solidarity contribution” – for innovative purchasing. 

Innovative Financing – Securing additional and sustainable Funds for Health

Approximately half of UNITAID’s resources come from a small levy on airline tickets in several countries, while the rest is provided primarily by multi-year contributions from governments and a foundation. As of the end of 2011, this levy has collected US$ 1.06 billion – 66% of the US$ 1.6 billion raised by UNITAID. This long-term and predictable stream of funding allows UNITAID to leverage buy-side strength to negotiate with manufacturers to supply quality-assured public health products at reduced prices and bring new formulations to market (more on innovative financing here).

Innovative Impact – Stratetgic investments making the Money go Further

UNITAID complements the work of other global health agencies and targets underserved markets in developing countries, such as for paediatric HIV treatments or cutting-edge diagnostic tools for TB. Funds are strategically invested in areas where buy-side leverage can be used to optimise market conditions, working through UNITAID’s implementers on the ground (more on our market intervention projects with implementers here).

With its sizeable purchasing power, UNITAID negotiates price reductions, accelerates the pace at which products are made available, and brings quality-assured health products to market. A strong market force enables UNITAID’s interventions to impact not only those countries receiving direct UNITAID support, but also other countries and organisations that benefit from UNITAID’s global price reductions, improvements in product quality, and innovation (more on our market approach here).

Governance

The UNITAID Executive Board is the decision-making body of UNITAID. The Executive Board determines UNITAID’s objectives, scope and work plan, and approves all partnership arrangements with other organizations and institutions. It also monitors UNITAID’s progress and approves UNITAID budgets and financial commitments (for more on our governance, please click here).

The Executive Board is chaired by Dr Philippe Douste-Blazy, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Innovative Financing for Development.

Market Dynamics and Grant-Making

UNITAID’s strong buy-side ability significantly impacts on product markets to reduce prices and increase the availability and supply of high quality medicines, diagnostics and related commodities for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. UNITAID provides funding for the purchase of these products on the basis of project proposals approved by the UNITAID Executive Board. The Executive Board only selects grants that indicate potential to achieve maximal public health and market impact and have been thoroughly analyzed by UNITAID’s Market Dynamics team.

UNITAID’s Market Dynamics team supports the organization’s strategic decision-making by mapping the disease, technology and market landscape for HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Through publication of landscape reports, UNITAID also offers a global public service that has become a valuable reference for the public and private sectors.

Project Portfolio

UNITAID currently supports 27 projects with 22 grantees. In 2012, the UNITAID Executive Board approved funding for five new diagnostic projects.

UNITAID projects have produced concrete results in the form of cheaper, more effective and better adapted products to treat those living with HIV, malaria and tuberculosis in low-income countries. UNITAID funds projects in 94 countries. Please visit this page for a spotlight on our results or click here for an interactive visualization of all our projects.

Grantees

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