High Prices for Antiretrovirals in Middle-Income Countries Outside Africa
Middle-income countries outside of Africa are paying, on average, four times more for antiretrovirals than African countries with similar Gross National Incomes (GNI) according to an analysis presented at IAS 2013.
There have been substantial reductions in the prices for antiretrovirals in the lowest income countries -- defined by a GNI less than US$1025/person-year -- but these low prices are not consistent in middle-income countries with large HIV epidemics. There is no established mechanism for fair pricing in these countries and several key antiretrovirals are still on patent.
Andrew Hill from Liverpool University presented findings from an analysis of pricing of six key single agents and dual combinations used routinely in first and second line treatment, on behalf of colleagues from Thailand, South Africa and the UK.
The investigators looked at prices for nevirapine (NVP), efavirenz (EFV), tenofovir (TDF), AZT/3TC, TDF/FTC and lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r). Antiretroviral prices used in national programmes (2010-2012) were extracted from the WHO Global Price Reporting Mechanism (GPRM) database.
They then compared treatment costs -- with both branded and generic antiretrovirals -- with per capita annual GNI using the World Bank database.
The 20 countries were classified as:
Dr Hill suggested that a gradual price rise as income increases might be expected but this analysis revealed huge disparities in prices between African and non-African upper-middle income countries not clearly correlated with rising GNI.
Overall median treatment costs were mostly uniformly low in low and low-middle income countries and prices remained stable in African countries as GNI increased. Antiretroviral drug prices in upper-middle income countries outside of Africa were significantly higher than African countries with similar GNIs (see Table 1). The highest prices of any country analysed were in Malaysia, which has a lower GNI than Russia or Brazil.
Dr Hill remarked there was "no rhyme or reason to prices." He concluded: "We need a new system of fair pricing for antiretrovirals for all middle-income countries with large HIV epidemics."
Non-African countries can get forgotten in mechanisms to aid fair pricing and rarely has an analysis shown this so starkly.
Aggressive intellectual property rules proposed in a free trade pact under negotiation by the U.S. and 11 Asia-Pacific countries -- the Trans Pacific Partnership -- could prevent equitable access to affordable medicines further by extending patent protection for originators and restricting generic production. This could make promising new pipeline drugs like dolutegravir completely out of reach for many people with HIV.
Hill A et al. Is the pricing of antiretrovirals equitable? Analysis of antiretroviral drug prices in 20 low- and middle-income countries. 7th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis Treatment and Prevention, 30 June - 3 July 2013, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Oral abstract WELBDO.
Links to other websites are current at date of posting but not maintained.
This article was provided by HIV i-Base. It is a part of the publication HIV Treatment Bulletin. Visit HIV i-Base's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read TheBody.com's Comment Policy.)
The content on this page is free of advertiser influence and was produced by our editorial team. See our content and advertising policies.