Clinton deal to lower HIV drug cost in poor nations

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One agreement, with Mylan Inc., lowers the annual price of four antiretroviral drugs that are used as a second line of treatment when patients develop a resistance to the first drugs they are treated with.

The other agreement, with Pfizer Inc., reduces the cost of a medication that can be used in conjunction with the drugs in patients who have tuberculosis.

The agreements would help drugs "reach hundreds of thousands more people and save hundreds of thousands of more lives. This is a very big deal," Clinton said yesterday in announcing the deal.

Clinton said Mylan, through its subsidiary Matrix Laboratories Limited, would bring the annual cost of the antiretroviral drugs atazanavir, ritonavir, tenofovir and lamivudine down to under USD 500.

Starting in 2010, the pills will be packaged together and sold as something patients can take once a day, for an annual price of USD 425. The Clinton Foundation said that price is 28 per cent lower than the current lowest-priced alternative.

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