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

November 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: Genes that aid spinal cord healing in lamprey also present in humans

Related Stories

Genes that aid spinal cord healing in lamprey also present in humans

January 15, 2018
Many of the genes involved in natural repair of the injured spinal cord of the lamprey are also active in the repair of the peripheral nervous system in mammals, according to a study by a collaborative group of scientists ...

How rejuvenation of stem cells could lead to healthier aging

January 17, 2018
"Rampant" and "elderly" are words rarely used in the same sentence, unless we are talking of the percentage of people over 65 years old worldwide. Life expectancy has considerably increased, but it is still unknown how many ...

Kenya's HIV progress report—good progress, but also big gaps

December 28, 2017
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has clear markers on the road to controlling the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. By 2020, about nine out of every ten people should know their HIV status. Nine out of ten HIV positive people ...

Usage remains low for pill that can prevent HIV infection

January 8, 2018
From gritty neighborhoods in New York and Los Angeles to clinics in Kenya and Brazil, health workers are trying to popularize a pill that has proven highly effective in preventing HIV but which—in their view—remains woefully ...

PrEP: A shield against AIDS

November 30, 2017
"It's magic," said Francois, smiling. "Every time I take a pill I think about the people who aren't so lucky as to have this option."

Health groups urge Congress not to allow AIDS fight to wane

November 29, 2017
A coalition of nearly 40 advocacy groups said Wednesday they're concerned about the Trump administration's commitment to the global fight against AIDS so they're urging senior members of Congress to make sure money for key ...

Recommended for you

HIV-1 genetic diversity is higher in vaginal tract than in blood during early infection

January 18, 2018
A first-of-its-kind study has found that the genetic diversity of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is higher in the vaginal tract than in the blood stream during early infection. This finding, published in PLOS ...

War in Ukraine has escalated HIV spread in the country: study

January 15, 2018
Conflict in Ukraine has increased the risk of HIV outbreaks throughout the country as displaced HIV-infected people move from war-affected regions to areas with higher risk of transmission, according to analysis by scientists.

Researchers offer new model for uncovering true HIV mortality rates in Zambia

January 12, 2018
A new study that seeks to better ascertain HIV mortality rates in Zambia could provide a model for improved national and regional surveillance approaches, and ultimately, more effective HIV treatment strategies.

New drug capsule may allow weekly HIV treatment

January 9, 2018
Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women's Hospital have developed a capsule that can deliver a week's worth of HIV drugs in a single dose. This advance could make it much easier for patients to adhere to the strict schedule ...

New long-acting, less-toxic HIV drug suppresses virus in humanized mice

January 8, 2018
A team of Yale researchers tested a new chemical compound that suppresses HIV, protects immune cells, and remains effective for weeks with a single dose. In animal experiments, the compound proved to be a promising new candidate ...

Researchers find clues to AIDS resistance in sooty mangabey genome

January 3, 2018
Peaceful co-existence, rather than war: that's how sooty mangabeys, a monkey species found in West Africa, handle infection by SIV, a relative of HIV, and avoid developing AIDS-like disease.

0 comments

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.