Bristol-Myers Squibb Will Sell Discounted AIDS Drugs to Africa
Bristol-Myers Squibb announced yesterday that it will sell its two AIDS drugs Videx and Zerit at $1 per day to all African nations participating in the ACCESS Program, a joint initiative sponsored by the United Nations and five pharmaceutical companies to provide cheaper AIDS drugs to Africa. In addition, the drug company also announced that it will make the patent rights for Zerit available "at no cost" to South Africa. The actions are two parts of the company's new "four-point program" to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. The plan also calls for the company to make "fully public" the prices of the drugs offered in the ACCESS program and will also grant an additional $15 million to Bristol-Myers' Secure the Future program, which works with African governments and communities to foster "local solutions" to the pandemic. Under the plan, Bristol-Myers would sell Videx and Zerit together for $1 per day -- 15 cents per day for Zerit and 85 cents per day for Videx -- to African nations participating in the ACCESS program. John McGoldrick, executive vice president of Bristol-Myers, said of the company's efforts, "This is not about profits and patents; it's about poverty and a devastating disease. We seek no profits on AIDS drugs in Africa, and we will not let our patents be an obstacle." (Bristol-Myers Squibb release, 3/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.