Clinton Foundation Announces Landmark Agreement On Major Reduction In Price Of HIV/AIDS Lab Tests

William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation (Little Rock)

January 15, 2004

New York

HIV/AIDS Initiative Helping To Change The Economics Of AIDS Treatment In Developing World; Aims To Make Delivery Of High Quality Care More Affordable And More Available To Millions In Africa And The Caribbean

Former President Bill Clinton announced today that his Foundation has reached an agreement with five leading medical technology companies on a major reduction in the price of HIV/AIDS laboratory tests for millions of people in Africa and the Caribbean.

The landmark agreement will cut costs of key tests by up to 80 percent for people with HIV/AIDS. For example, the agreement will save almost $300 million in South Africa alone over the next five years.

The reduced-price tests will initially be available in the 16 countries and territories where the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative is working with governments and non-governmental organizations to set up country-wide integrated care, treatment and prevention programs. The Foundation expects that up to 5 million people will be able to benefit from the tests by the year 2008.

The companies involved in the agreement include Bayer Diagnostics, Beckman Coulter, Inc., BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), bioM鲩eux and Roche Diagnostics. Joining President Clinton at a news conference in New York to announce the agreement today were Edward J. Ludwig, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of BD; Gerald B. Rosenberg, Senior Vice President and General Manager of North America for Bayer Diagnostics; Bonnie Anderson, Vice President of Translational Solutions Business Center of Beckman Coulter, Inc.; and Robin Toft, Vice-President of Viral Commercial Business Development of Roche Diagnostics.

This is the second major price-reduction agreement negotiated by the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative. In October, President Clinton announced a major reduction in the price of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) for use in the developing world.

"We are systematically changing the economics of AIDS treatment in places where, before now, very few people have been able to receive life-saving care," President Clinton said. "By pushing down the price of HIV/AIDS medicine and laboratory tests, we are ramping up the ability of developing countries to treat millions of people, and to do so with the kind of quality of care that people with AIDS in the developed world usually receive."

The two agreements together will reduce the current cost of testing and treatment in countries such as South Africa from $800 per patient per year to approximately $250 per patient per year, a reduction of nearly 70 percent. "Such a big savings means we can treat many more people with the same amount of money," President Clinton said.

The agreement covers two HIV/AIDS laboratory tests: the cd4 test, which helps determine when ARVs should be administered to people with AIDS; and the viral load test, which helps measure how effective ARVs are in suppressing the virus and can alert clinicians about the need to adjust dosages or change regimens. As part of the agreement, the companies will be providing equipment and related products and services to each of the countries involved, which helps the countries avoid large up-front costs.

"These companies are world leaders in their fields, and they deserve credit for their willingness and desire to make AIDS tests more affordable and more available to millions of people in the developing world," President Clinton said. "They have stepped up to the plate and demonstrated tremendous compassion and corporate citizenship."

Worldwide, five to six million people living with AIDS currently need treatment; with more than 40 million people infected with HIV, that number will rise substantially in just a few years. However, only about 300,000 people in the developing world are receiving medicine, with more than a third of them in Brazil. In sub-Saharan Africa, only about 50,000 people are on ARVs, with four million in need of the medicine today.

Along with its drug and test procurement activities, the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative is pioneering a new approach to launching robust and comprehensive systems for HIV and AIDS care and treatment in the developing world. A coalition of volunteer experts in business; health care management and education; and AIDS care, treatment and research form multidisciplinary teams that provide technical assistance to governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector.

The Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative has been at work for more than a year helping individual governments in Africa and the Caribbean to develop scalable AIDS care, treatment and prevention strategies. In the Caribbean, the Foundation is working with nine countries and three territories which together have over 90% of people living with AIDS in the Caribbean. In Africa, the Foundation is working with Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania which together have about 33% of all people living with AIDS in Africa.

The Clinton Foundation is working in close cooperation with the World Health Organization and UNAIDS on "The 3 by 5 Initiative" to scale-up HIV/AIDS care and treatment. It is also working with other organizations, such as the World Bank and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Through its collaboration with the WHO, UNAIDS and the Global Fund, the Foundation hopes to extend the benefits of this program to other countries and organizations that provide treatment in the developing world and that have instituted appropriate safeguards. The agreement envisions expanding the provision of lower cost tests to other nations.

The Clinton Foundation is not receiving any compensation in connection with its HIV/AIDS Initiative. The Foundation has raised external funds to aid in the implementation of all its HIV/AIDS Initiative programs. For example, the governments of Canada and Ireland have committed to support Clinton Foundation-related programs in Mozambique and Tanzania. Norway and Sweden have also agreed to contribute funds. Funds from donor countries go directly to national HIV/AIDS care and treatment programs of the African and Caribbean countries involved in the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative.

Providing treatment to people with AIDS, besides saving many lives, is a crucial ingredient in preventing the spread of HIV. The possibility of living a longer, healthier life gives people a much greater incentive to be tested for HIV. Once brought in for testing and, if needed, treatment, people potentially at risk of getting or transmitting HIV can be educated about safe sex and other prevention measures.

Ira Magaziner serves as Chairman of the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative. Lynn Margherio, Executive Vice President of the Initiative, led the effort that resulted in this testing agreement. The Clinton Foundation has created an HIV/AIDS Treatment Consortium to help carry out its treatment plans in the developing world. Its partners include: Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health; the Harvard AIDS Institute; the Harvard Medical School Division of AIDS; Health Alliance International with the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine; Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation; Partners in Health; PharmAccess International of the Netherlands; and University Research Corporation.

Steve Petras of Baker & Hostetler and Rick Zall of Mintz, Levin provided pro bono legal services in conjunction with the testing agreement. Trevor Peter of the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership and Dr. William Rodriguez of Harvard Medical School also provided technical advice.

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