Global Health Ideas

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Harvard Study in PLOS Medicine: Brazil’s ARV Policy Saved US$1 Billion

BBC reports that “a study published in the Public Library of Science journal by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health suggests the policy has saved Brazil around $1bn between 2001 and 2005.”  The article itself is available freely online as a part of  the open access policy of PLoS.

From the Harvard School of Public Health press release:

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.

Figure 6 from the articleImpact of Alternative Price and Quantity Scenarios on Total ARV Costs, 2001–2005 – shows how the increase in spending is primarily related to increases in quantities rather than costs (Figure 6.A).  This figure also shows how much would have been spent if there were no price changes (6.B) and the theoretical minimum that could have been spent by buying the lowest-priced generics on the market (6.C).


2 Responses

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  1. Many countries specially USA is trying to sue Brazil to had break the patent of drugs for HIV/AIDS treatment. This is unbelievable what this countries are doing, Brazil is trying to give these people more time to live for a cheaper price. CONGRATS BRAZIL!

    Thiago Prado

    April 20, 2008 at 10:57 am

  2. The World Health Organization is looking for policy mechanisms to improve drug access without significant losses to R&D incentives. I just saw this press release (“WHO seeks affordable medicine“) on latest steps.


    November 14, 2007 at 4:41 am

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