Drug Makers May Cut Price of HIV/AIDS Drugs in Caribbean
Drug makers Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., GlaxoSmithKline and Roche are considering lowering the price their HIV/AIDS-related drugs for people living in the Caribbean, the Associated Press reports. Under the proposed deal, the price of antiretroviral therapy would be cut from $12,000 per patient per year to as little as $1,100 per patient per year, although the price would vary by country. Robert Lefebvre, a senior director with Bristol-Myers, said that the pharmaceutical firms will work with the World Health Organization and Caribbean officials to raise funds for and cut taxes on the medicines. The deal was discussed by drug industry representatives and officials from Caribbean nations in February, May and June. Although a regional deal has not yet been finalized, Caribbean officials say they are hopeful that an agreement will be approved at the XIV International AIDS Conference, which will be held July 7-12 in Barcelona, Spain. Caribbean Community Assistant Secretary-General Eddie Greene said that he is hopeful that Merck & Co. will also agree to cut its antiretroviral drug prices in the region. The Caribbean has the second-highest HIV infection prevalence rate in the world after sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated 2% of Caribbean residents, excluding those in Cuba, are estimated to be HIV-positive (Saunders, Associated Press, 6/28).
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