Clinton Foundation AIDS Drug Deal Slows Bush Anti-Generics Policy -- activists applaud bold move to reduce drug prices by Global AIDS Fund, Clinton Foundation, UNICEF And the World Bank. --

Health GAP, 06 April 2004
Chadwick Bovee +1 646.641.3068
Paul Davis +1 215.833.4102

A major initiative that will provide generic antiretroviral HIV/AIDS drugs in the poorest nations has been announced today by The Clinton Foundation, The World Bank, UNICEF and the Global Fund. The announcement substantively snubs the attempts last week to sideswipe the generic drug industry by impugning the WHO's widely accepted drug quality standards. The Clinton drugs will treat at least four times as many patients for the same price.

By endorsing field-proven generic medications and utilizing existing, multilateral financing and distribution institutions with a track record, the Clinton initiative takes opposite approaches from the White House's still being-created Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

"The historic Clinton Foundation drug pricing and distribution deal is a powerful slap to President Bush's arrogant attempts to limit the use of generic AIDS medicines to suit the whims of his pharmaceutical backers. Clinton has thrown a spanner in the works, slowing the Bush Administration's shameful efforts to use their AIDS relief program to create a slush fund for big pharma," said Paul Davis from Health GAP. "The Clinton approach represents the direction Bush Administration policy should take, if the White is serious about fighting AIDS." Activists note that the Kerry campaign has opposed limitations on the use of affordable generic AIDS drugs for developing countries. (

In Congressional testimony and and at a two-day meeting in Botswana last week, Bush officials sought to undermine and discredit the quality of the drugs that Clinton Foundation, the Global Fund and others will now negotiate and finance. The meeting was extremely contentious, with Health GAP and other NGOs joining governments and UN Agencies to stand by WHO's drug quality standards. No consensus was reached at the meeting, in spite of Administration pressure to settle.

The State Department is insisting the U.S. FDA or a similar wealthy country drug regulatory authority perform new assessments of the safety and efficacy of generic medicines, rejecting the WHO's internationally supported pre- qualification program which assures the quality and safety of medications. The protocol of the WHO program mimic FDA standards, however, patent barriers prohibit the approval of generic AIDS drugs by the agencies deemed acceptable to Bush officials -- an intentional Catch-22. The WHO has approved dozens of generic AIDS medications for use by numerous national governments, UNICEF, the World Bank, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, and groups such as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

The Clinton Foundation will negotiate the prices for fixed-dosed combinations (FDCs) of antiretroviral medications, drugs current White House officials have been particularly opposed to. The use of FDCs, which combine drugs from multiple originators into single pills, promote adherence, decrease the risk of resistance and facilitate efficient stock and procurement management.

WHO recommended FDCs now available are one pill, taken twice daily. FDCs are the least expensive option: a generic triple combination costs less than $140 per person per year. In the developing world, the same combination from brand-name companies costs a minimum of $562 per person per year and must be taken in the form of six pills a day. "President Bush is a puppet of the drug companies," said Health GAP's Staci Smith. "His plan is to force millions of people with HIV/AIDS to accept higher pill burdens and waste tax money to line the pockets of big pharma." By denying quality assured generics under it bilateral initiative, and by requiring poor countries to establish parallel systems for affordable generics, the White House will have raise significant new barriers that lock developing countries into to using only branded drugs. -end-

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