New study looks at long-term drug costs for treating AIDS in Brazil

Nov 13, 2007

AIDS continues to be a staggering global public health problem. The World Health Organization estimates that two million people in developing countries receive treatment known as HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy), more commonly known as “AIDS cocktails.”

This number represents just 25% of those in need of treatment in these countries. However, little is known about the long-term costs associated with providing drugs to AIDS patients in developing countries. To study those long-term cost trends, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health have performed the first detailed analysis of AIDS drug cost trends in Brazil. The results appear in the November 13, 2007 issue of the journal PLOS Medicine.

Brazil has one of the developing world’s oldest, largest and most successful AIDS treatment programs and has been treating AIDS patients for more than a decade. Brazil provides free and universal access to AIDS drugs and is a model for other countries scaling up AIDS treatment.

The results showed that, although costs for Brazil’s locally produced generic antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) increased from 2001 to 2005, the country still saved approximately $1 billion in that time period through controversial price negotiations with multinational pharmaceutical companies for patented ARVs. Since 2001, Brazil has been able to obtain lower prices for patented ARVs by threatening to produce AIDS drugs locally. Though these negotiations initially prompted major declines in AIDS drug spending, HAART costs in Brazil more than doubled from 2004 to 2005. The steep increase reflects the fact that more people living with HIV/AIDS began treatment and are living longer. The increase also reflects the challenges associated with providing complex, costly second- and third-line treatments as people develop resistance to first-line drugs, live longer and require more complex treatment regimens.

“Although Brazil has saved large sums by negotiating with pharmaceutical companies, it faces significant challenges with the rising cost of providing universal access to AIDS treatment,” said Amy Nunn, lead author of the study and formerly a researcher at HSPH. “Brazil’s challenges may foreshadow the rising costs other developing countries will face as they work to provide universal access to treatment for all people living with HIV/AIDS. The Brazilian experience suggests that if the global community is truly committed to providing high-quality treatment to all people living with HIV/AIDS, far more resources must be mobilized to achieve this important goal.”

Source: Harvard School of Public Health

Explore further: Can social media help stop the spread of HIV?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Night-time brilliance lights up political patronage

Jul 09, 2014

In some countries, a region that can lay claim to being the birthplace of a country's political leader is likely to get preferential treatment – bias that shines out when the intensity of night lights is compared with that ...

The pig whipworm genome may aid to treat autoimmune diseases

Jun 20, 2014

An international team, composed of 11 institutions from six countries, including BGI, presented the whole-genome sequence of Trichuris suis, a parasitic worm in pig. Understanding the genetics mechanisms underlying the pi ...

New mobile application enables DNA analysis on the go

May 29, 2014

Researchers from A*STAR's Bioinformatics Institute (BII) have developed the first mobile application for Android phones that analyses ab1 DNA sequencing files, which enables science professionals and amateur ...

Recommended for you

Model explains why HIV prevention dosing differs by sex

16 hours ago

A mathematical model developed by NIH grantees predicts that women must take the antiretroviral medication Truvada daily to prevent HIV infection via vaginal sex, whereas just two doses per week can protect men from HIV infection ...

Tourism as a driver of illicit drug use, HIV risk in the DR

Oct 29, 2014

The Caribbean has the second highest global human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevalence in the world outside of Sub-Saharan Africa, with HIV/AIDS as leading cause of death among people aged 20–59 years within the region. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.