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HIV/AIDS

Accelerating access initiative: widening access to care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS

Progress report, June 2002

ISBN 92 4 121012 5

In 1998, the UNAIDS Secretariat, with several pharmaceutical partners, introduced the Drug Access Initiative which explored the feasibility of a structured introduction of price-reduced ARV therapy in a range of developing countries. The Drug Access Initiative which established that antiretroviral (ARV) therapy could be safely and effectively used, even in the least developed countries, led to the first differential pricing for ARVs in developing countries, and demonstrated that diversion of price-reduced drugs could be limited. A first evaluation of its activities published in March 2000 found, however, that in the pilot projects the price of the drugs was the main obstacle to expanding drug access up to the maximum capacity of the pilot centres. This led the UNAIDS Secretariat and the managers of the Drug Access Initiative in Uganda and Côte d’Ivoire to explore whether the drugs could be obtained more cheaply, first from the research-based companies that were partners in the initiative, and later from generic manufacturers. Further action was also prompted by public information about prices of locally produced ARVs in Brazil and Thailand.