A protocol of understanding signed Thursday, August 25, by Brazil’s Ministry of Health and the Clinton Foundation includes Brazil in the Foundation’s consortia for the purchase of anti-retroviral (ARV) medications at low prices.
The Foundation will provide technical assistance to enable the Brazilian government to reduce the prices of the components for producing ARV medications and of the medications themselves. The agreement also provides for Brazil’s acquisition of diagnostic and monitoring tests.
The partnership was signed by Minister Saraiva Felipe and the director of the Clinton Foundation’s HIV/AIDS Initiative, Ira C. Magaziner.
One of the priorities of the Ministry of Health, to strengthen domestic production of ARV medications and their active ingredients, constitutes one of the major items in the agreement, inasmuch as it has to do with the sustainability of universal access and the progressive reduction of current prices.
In Saraiva Felipe’s opinion, the partnership represents an advance for the country. “Brazil will be able to obtain significant reductions in the price of medicines to combat AIDS. On the other hand, the agreement also signifies an important technical and technological contribution, vital for the sustainability of the Brazilian AIDS program.”
In 2005 alone, Brazil will spend US$ 414.4 million (1 billion reais) on the purchase of ARV medications. At present, around 160 thousand patients enjoy free access to 17 anti-AIDS drugs – eight of them produced in Brazil and nine, imported. Expenditures on ARV medications consume 25% of the portion of the Ministry of Health’s budget earmarked for drug purchases.
Magaziner underscored Brazil’s leadership role in the offer of treatment and assistance to people who suffer from HIV/AIDS. “We are honored by the invitation, and we hope to serve not only Brazil but also the other countries in which the Clinton Foundation is engaged,” he remarked.
Magaziner met with technical personnel from the National DST/AIDS Program and with representatives of Brazilian government and private laboratories that manufacture drug components. Brazil’s technical and technology capacity was analyzed, and areas of potential support were identified.
Helping wage the war on HIV/AIDS is the chief objective of the Clinton Foundation. Magaziner believes that, unless the epidemic is confronted in developing countries, where 90% of the world’s 40 million HIV victims live, it will not be possible to resolve the problem. The Foundation believes that, unless access to ARV treatment is expanded, 5-6 million people will die of AIDS in the next two years.
Based on this concern, the Clinton Foundation’s HIV/AIDS Initiative helps these countries plan and implement large-scale, integrated assistance, treatment, and prevention programs. The Initiative already backs projects of this type in countries in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.