Successful price negotiations on antiretrovirals for 10 Latin American countries
In June 2003, 10 Latin American countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela) invited manufacturers of HIV/ AIDS antiretrovirals (ARVs) and diagnostic kits to participate in a regional negotiation to set maximum reference prices for the region as a whole. This was the culmination of a process during which the countries had met at regional level a number of times to analyse issues of product access, to formalize commitment to lowering drug prices, and to develop a framework for action.
During the June meeting, countries rejected proposals presented through the Accelerated Access Initiative, but instead signed a significantly more favourable agreement with manufacturers presenting unconditional prices, and satisfying regional criteria for ARVs and diagnostics. The agreement was signed by a number of brand companies, principally suppliers of diagnostics but also of ARVs, as well as by Indian and Argentinian generic ARV manufacturers. As a result of the agreement, countries achieved significant reductions in the price of 37 drugs, with 15 prices now below the previous lowest reference price in the region. The cost of treatment using a first-line triple therapy, such as AZT+3TC+NVP, was reduced between 30 and 92% - from US$ 1,100 (the previous lowest regional price) or US$ 5,000 (the previous highest regional price) to US$ 365. The negotiations also resulted in major price reductions of between 9 and 90% for HIV diagnostic kits at regional level. Estimates are that an additional 150,000 patients will be able to receive treatment if the predicted economies of scale are used to provide first-line ARV therapy.
Latin America’s approach has attracted considerable interest globally, as a means of accessing essential medicines and diagnostics for the care and treatment of HIV/AIDS patients at a more affordable price.
Correction to issue N°9: Price negotiations between the governments of Central America and pharmaceutical companies have led to a minimum 55% reduction in the prices of HIV/AIDS antiretroviral medicines in Central America, not 5% as was reported.