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This article is part of the supplement: The OptAIDS project: towards global halting of HIV/AIDS

Open Access Research

Factors influencing global antiretroviral procurement prices

Veronika J Wirtz1*, Steven Forsythe2, Atanacio Valencia-Mendoza3 and Sergio Bautista-Arredondo3

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Health System Research, National Institute of Public Health, Mexico

2 Futures Institute, Glastonbury, Connecticut, USA

3 Center of Evaluation Research and Surveys, National Institute of Public Health, Mexico

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BMC Public Health 2009, 9(Suppl 1):S6  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-S1-S6

Published: 18 November 2009

Abstract

Background

Antiretroviral medicines (ARVs) are one of the most costly parts of HIV/AIDS treatment. Many countries are struggling to provide universal access to ARVs for all people living with HIV and AIDS. Although substantial price reductions of ARVs have occurred, especially between 2002 and 2008, achieving sustainable access for the next several decades remains a major challenge for most low- and middle-income countries. The objectives of the present study were twofold: first, to analyze global ARV prices between 2005 and 2008 and associated factors, particularly procurement methods and key donor policies on ARV procurement efficiency; second, to discuss the options of procurement processes and policies that should be considered when implementing or reforming access to ARV programs.

Methods

An ARV-medicines price-analysis was carried out using the Global Price Reporting Mechanism from the World Health Organization. For a selection of 12 ARVs, global median prices and price variation were calculated. Linear regression models for each ARV were used to identify factors that were associated with lower procurement prices. Logistic regression models were used to identify the characteristics of those countries which procure below the highest and lowest direct manufactured costs.

Results

Three key factors appear to have an influence on a country's ARV prices: (a) whether the product is generic or not; (b) the socioeconomic status of the country; (c) whether the country is a member of the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative. Factors which did not influence procurement below the highest direct manufactured costs were HIV prevalence, procurement volume, whether the country belongs to the least developed countries or a focus country of the United States President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief.

Conclusion

One of the principal mechanisms that can help to lower prices for ARV over the next several decades is increasing procurement efficiency. Benchmarking prices could be one useful tool to achieve this.