Thursday, May 10, 2007

Clinton bats for reduced prices for HIV/AIDS pills

Providing efficient care for at least seven million people suffering from HIV/AIDS worldwide is a costly undertaking. And many countries are still grappling as to what measures to make in order to stave off the stigma that ostracize millions from their children and families, especially those currently locked up in many health care facilities so that they wouldn't have the chance to spread further the dreaded diseases.

For instance, in many African countries, where political struggles and wars have stunted economic growth and sending millions as refugees, HIV/AIDS has been identified as the number one killer. With no efficient medicine discovered yet to cure such disease, people have been vulnerable to contracting it, especially through sexual intercourse. Safe sex has been spread around as part of concerned governments and non-government organizations' information drive to further educate more people on how to avoid the spread the of the disease. In Africa alone, countless children have been affected now and many more are exposed to its dangers.

But no matter how much efforts, countries with increasing number of HIV/AIDS victims, they can only do so much. With limited funds for basic services to improve the quality of lives of the people, programs to cure HIV/AIDS are no longer given much support thus leading to millions of deaths due to medical neglect. Biochemists and other medical scientists are exerting so much efforts to find a cure that could totally eradicate the disease but to no avail. Despite the concerted efforts, nothing much was done to find a solution to the problem that is getting serious everyday.

In response to this malady, the Bill Gates Foundation has earmarked a huge fund that could be used to help non-government organizations worldwide to create mechanisms that could support extensive medical researches on the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The move was meant to minimize the high costs of medicines used for the treatment of HIV/AIDS.

Cognizant to this, the William J. Clinton Foundation had successfully negotiated for the availability of second-line drugs in low-income countries and 50% in middle income countries.

According to Clinton, " Second-line treatment is required in patients who develop resistance to first-line treatment and currently costs 10 times the price of first-line therapy."

Nearly a half million patients will require these drugs by 2010, he said. " These price reductions have been made possible by UNITAID, the international drug purchase facility established in 2006 by France, Brazil, Chile, Norway and the UK." UNITAID will provide the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI) with more than $100 million to buy second-line medicines for 27 countries through 2008.

Clinton added the this new line of AIDS treatment is made affordable through a reduction in the prices of first line treatment that combines the drugs tenofovir, lamivudine and efavirenz. The new cost for this treatment is only $339 per year per patient, representing 45% reduction from the current prices available in low-income countries and 67% lower in price in many middle income countries, Clinton said a document released in the Internet.

No comments: