To reduce spread of HIV/AIDS, IFRC calls for more focus on IDU programs

February 25, 2016

In a separate PBS NewsHour piece, Correspondent Spencer Michels examines the costs associated with ARVs and increasing efforts among pharmaceutical companies to make such drugs more affordable in developing countries. According to the news service, "[e]stimates are that 14 million people in the world today - mostly in poor countries - need antiretroviral drugs, and that number will increase to 55 million in 20 years."

The piece focuses on the company Gilead Sciences, the maker of Truvada as well as other ARVs, who has "a global access program, an innovative tiered pricing scheme that sells drugs at full price in developed countries, 70 percent to 90 percent less in middle-income countries like Brazil, and at no profit in the poorest nations. ... In addition to selling its own drugs at cost, Gilead has also begun to license its formulas to Indian generic drug firms, which then sell the drugs for an even lower price, around $84 per patient per year," according to the news service.

The piece details the costs associated with the development of new ARVs - expenses the pharmaceutical companies look to recover in product sales - and the trend for global pharmaceutical firms to reduce prices on drugs in developing countries.

"Today, with more drug companies making ARVs available cheaply, there's a new hitch: those drugs can eventually become less effective as patients develop resistance," Michels explains, noting that there will likely be increasing pressure on pharmaceutical companies to reduce their prices on the more expensive second- and third-line therapies. The piece includes interviews with representatives from Gilead Sciences, a physician and HIV/AIDS advocates (11/25).

This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.