Shift to generic HIV drugs increased access, saved money.
Expedited approval and use of generic antiretroviral medications
within the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
has led to increased access to such medications in PEPFAR-funded
countries and cost savings of more than $300 million between 2005 and
2008. (1) According to an analysis of annual survey data from 16
countries funded by PEPFAR, annual spending on antiretroviral drugs
almost doubled between 2005 and 2008, from $117 million to $202 million,
with spending on generic medications increasing from 9% ($11 million) to
76% ($155 million) of the total drug expenditure per year. Procurement
also increased substantially, from six million one-month antiretroviral
packs to 22 million between 2005 and 2008. The proportion of the
antiretroviral packs procured that were generic rose from 15% in 2005 to
89% in 2008. In 15 of the 16 PEPFAR-funded countries studied, more than
80% of the monthly packs procured in 2008 were generic, ranging from 81%
in Uganda to 100% in Zimbabwe; the exception was South Africa, where
only 25% of the packs procured that year were generic. The estimated
yearly cost savings generated by using generic rather than proprietary
antiretroviral drugs increased from $8.1 million in 2005 to $214.6
million in 2008, for an overall savings of more than $323.3 million
during the four-year-period.
(1.) Holmes CB et al., Use of genetic antiretroviral agents and
cost savings in PEPFAR treatment programs, Journal of the American
Medical Association, 2010, 304(3):313-320.
Update is compiled and written by Jared Rosenberg, senior editor of
International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.