Former U.S. president Bill Clinton has announced a deal with two major US drug companies to supply cheap HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis treatments to developing countries, including the Caribbean. Under this agreement, Mylan and its subsidiary Matrix will make available a second-line therapy of four antiretroviral drugs for less than 500 dollars annually. Thefour drugs— atazanavir, ritonavir, tenofovir, and lamivudine— will be sold as three pills, with tenofovir and lamivudine combined into a single pill, at 475 dollars a year. Starting in 2010, the pills will be packaged together for 425 dollars. In addition, Pfizer is to reduce the price and expand availability of rifabutin, which is used to treat tuberculosis in patients taking second-line antiretroviral drugs. Tuberculosis is the leading cause of death among HIV-positive patients. The new AIDS/HIV products will be available at reduced prices to various countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
Clinton said that his Global Foundation, which he established after leaving office, has helped two million people with HIV/AIDS access treatment. “Today’s announcement will help ensure we can sustain treatment over a lifetime and better treat patients with both HIV and TB, two key steps in turning the tide of the global HIV/AIDS pandemic,” he said in a statement.
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