Geneva, 22 October 2003 — Médecins Sans Frontières has welcomed today’s Clinton Foundation announcement that generic AIDS drugs will now be available in some developing countries at dramatically reduced prices – the new price of US$0.36 per day nearly halves the lowest price to date. The generic companies involved in this agreement are producing fixed-dose combinations, which can be taken in the form of one pill twice a day.
“One pill twice-a-day at this reduced price is exactly what is needed to rapidly expand the numbers of people receiving anti-retroviral treatment in developing countries,” said Dr Bernard Pécoul of MSF’s Access to Essential Medicines Campaign. “With this announcement, the World Health Organization’s objective of reaching 3 million by 2005 becomes much more feasible.”
The best price of the most frequently used fixed-dose combination in MSF’s projects - lamivudine/stavudine/nevirapine - until today has been US$255. The new price for this combination will be US$132 per patient per year, a near 50% drop.
The drugs covered by today’s announcement are currently under patent in South Africa, but last week the South African Competition Commission ruled that the government should override patents to allow lower priced medicines and in particular fixed-dose combinations.