Caribbean states announce first regional deal for cheaper ARVs

Keith Alcorn, Keith Alcorn
Published: 10 July 2002

Carribean states today announced that they have secured the first region-wide deal with pharmaceutical companies to provide reduced cost antiretrovirals. Speaking at the XIVth International AIDS Conference in Barcelona, Dr Denzil Davies, the Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis said that the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS has reached agreement with six pharmaceutical companies to provide drugs at the same price for all countries in the region.

Three companies – Bristol Myers Squibb, Boehringer Ingelheim and Glaxo Smith Kline – have agreed to make antiretrovirals available at the same discount offered to nations in sub-Saharan Africa (around 90%). Three other companies – Roche, Merck and Abbott – will continue to negotiate over discounts, but have already committed to price reductions at a common level for all states in the region.

The Pan-Caribbean Partnership includes not only the Caribbean islands, but Guyana and Surinam too.

The price reduction will allow therapy to made available immediately at a price of $1200 to $1800 depending on the drugs used, which will meant that the Bahamas will be able to start treating people with HIV very shortly. However, the Partnership has agreed that its aim is to reduce the cost of therapy across the region that is affordable for Haiti, Jamaica and Guyana – approximately $540 for a triple combination. Dr Eddie Greene, Assistant Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (the Caribbean equivalent of the European Union) said that the Partnership had committed to investigating generic sources of antiretrovirals in order to achieve this price.

The partnership has set a target of treating 15,000 people in the first year, and an additional 20,000 in the second year, out of a possible 60,000 who might need treatment. Around 500,000 people are estimated to be already infected in the region.

Medical monitoring for the region is currently centralised in Trinidad, where samples are shipped with the assistance of local airlines, and the Partnership will also investigate how the cost of monitoring can be reduced. The Partnership plans to scale up testing and counselling too, training counsellors from the many islands of region using distance learning techniques.

Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

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