Former president Bill Clinton on Thursday announced that his foundation's HIV/AIDS initiative has secured a deal with four pharmaceutical companies to lower the cost they charge for their generic versions of HIV antiretrovirals in poor African and Caribbean nations, The Wall Street Journal reports. The foundation reached an agreement with India's Ranbaxy Laboratories, Cipla, and Matrix Laboratories and with South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare to cut the price of a three-drug generic regimen from 55 cents per person per day to 38 cents. This cost is less than one quarter of what is charged for the cheapest brand-name anti-HIV drug regimen in developing countries. The deal also will reduce the cost of the anti-HIV drug Viramune in developing nations, which is commonly used to prevent mother-to-child HIV infections in pregnant women.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS applauded the agreement brokered by the Clinton Foundation. "Today's agreement, building on previous price reductions by both research and development-based and generic pharmaceutical companies, promises to bring the annual base cost for antiretroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS to as low as U.S. $140 per person per year," UNAIDS leaders said in a press statement. "This is important progress toward achieving the realistic target established by the World Health Organization and UNAIDS to provide HIV antiretroviral therapy to 3 million people in the most severely affected nations by 2005."