Former president Bill Clinton's foundation on Wednesday announced a deal with five leading medical technology companies that could reduce the cost of HIV diagnostic tests by up to 80% in Africa and the Caribbean. The deal could affect 90% of HIV-positive people in the Caribbean and one third of those in sub-Saharan Africa, Clinton said.
"We're systematically changing the economics of AIDS treatment in places where, before now, very, very few people have been able to receive care," said Clinton, speaking at his office in the Harlem section of New York City.
Under the agreement, five companies--Bayer Diagnostics; Beckman Coulter; bioMerieux; Roche Diagnostics; and Becton, Dickinson and Company--would discount the prices of CD4 tests, which measure white blood cell counts, and viral load tests, which measure the effectiveness of anti-HIV treatments. The cost of CD4 tests will drop from $8-$10 per test to $3-$5 per test; the cost of viral load tests will be 20% less than what the companies currently charge in developing nations. Executives from the companies say they hope to make up for lower profits with higher sales volume.
In October the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation announced a deal with pharmaceutical companies in India and South Africa to cut the prices on their generic anti-HIV drugs.