Sources and prices of selected medicines and diagnostics for people living with HIV / AIDS.
Antiretroviral therapy, prevention and treatment of opportunistic infections and cancers, as well as palliative care are important elements of HIV/AIDS care and support. HIV/AIDS care hence requires a wide range of essential medicines. If available, these effective and often relatively inexpensive medicines can prevent, treat, or help manage HIV/AIDS and most of the common HIV-related diseases. Less than 8% of people who require antiretroviral (ARV) treatment can access these medicines in developing countries. The high price of many of the HIV-related medicines and diagnostics offered by common suppliers – especially antiretroviral and anti-cancer medicines – is one of the main barriers to their availability in developing countries. There are several other important barriers, including a lack of the basic components required for care, treatment, and support of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWA) such as: trained staff in health facilities, constant availability of laboratory equipment and supplies, sufficient funding, efficient pharmaceutical services, strong political will and government commitment. Wider availability of information on prices and reliable sources of medicines can help those responsible for procurement make better decisions. Since 2000, prices of important first-line ARVs have fallen considerably. This trend is attributable to a cumulation of factors including advocacy, corporate responsiveness, competition from generic manufacturers, sustained public pressure, and the growing political attention paid to the AIDS epidemic. In addition, originator companies began announcing discount offers for the benefit of the poorest countries or those where HIV/AIDS prevalence is highest. (excerpt)