November 22nd, 2011
From Will Stephens, Vice President, Global Access & Partnerships, Janssen Global Services, LLC
Recently, I attended the Clinton Health Access Initiative’s (CHAI) 2nd Antiretroviral (ARV) Supplier Summit in Kerala, India. Over the course of three days, CHAI brought together innovator pharmaceutical companies and generic drug manufacturers as well as civil society representatives to explore the trends and challenges of broadening HIV drug delivery.
A key theme of the summit was sustainability and suppliers’ capacity to meet the rapidly growing needs for HIV drugs. In 2005, 1.3 million people with HIV were receiving ARV treatment in low and middle-income countries; in 2009, 5.2 million were on treatment. By 2015, an estimated 15 million people will be targeted for ARV treatment.
As we heard throughout the summit, this is a challenging time for those of us working to broaden access to these medicines in resource-limited settings. The demand for safe and effective HIV drugs is increasing, while funding for HIV programs is flat or decreasing. Companies – both innovator and generic – are under constant pressure to produce safer, more effective, more convenient HIV medicines ever more cheaply.
It was clear from summit discussions that having more generic companies manufacturing HIV drugs may not always expand access and/or lower prices; and in fact, it’s likely to drive high quality, higher-priced generic manufacturers out of the market.