US ex-President Bill Clinton has announced that his Foundation has negotiated new agreements to lower the price of HIV/AIDS treatments for children.

Under the deal, Indian drugmakers Cipla and Ranbaxy will produce a new three-in-one dispersible tablet for pediatric use costing just 16 cents per day for an average child. Cipla and other suppliers have also agreed to supply 19 different pediatric antiretroviral formulations at prices 45% lower on average that the cheapest rates currently available in low-income nations.

The new prices have been made possible by UNITAID, the international drug purchase facility set up in September by Brazil, Chile, France, Norway and the UK. Over the next year, UNITAID will make $35 million available for the purchase of medicines and diagnostics to the Clinton Foundation’s Procurement Consortium, which currently includes 62 developing countries that together account for more than 90% of people living with HIV/AIDS in developing countries. The Foundation’s HIV/AIDS initiative will contribute a further $15 million for technical assistance, to treat more than 100,000 additional HIV-positive children in 40 countries next year.

Cipla and Ranbaxy’s paediatric fixed-dose combination product includes three ARVs – lamivudine, stavudine and nevirapine. The other ARVs for which the Clinton Foundation has negotiated price reductions include abacavir, didanosine, efavirenz and zidovudine.

Welcoming the commitments made by Cipla, Ranbaxy and other suppliers, Pres Clinton said: “Though the world has made progress in expanding HIV/AIDS treatment to adults, children have been left behind. Only one in 10 children who needs treatment is getting it.”

As well as the agreements from Cipla and Ranbaxy for the supply of pediatric formulations at deeply discounted prices, the Foundation says it also expects to purchase ARVs from Abbott, Aurobindo, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck & Co, Roche and other drugmakers, based on responses to its invitation and the needs of partner governments.

77 HIV/AIDS treatments now in development, says PhRMA

Meantime, the US trade organisation for research-based drugmakers has reported that 77 new medicines and vaccines are currently in development for the treatment of HIV/AIDS and related conditions.

These potential new products include 19 vaccines and 35 antivirals that are currently either in human clinical trials or awaiting US Food and Drug Administration approval, says the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

88 medicines to treat HIV/AIDS and related conditions have been approved since the virus was first identified in 1981, with the first treatment being developed in 1987, the association notes. By Lynne Taylor