Clinton Foundation teams up with Pfizer and Matrix to reduce cost of HIV and TB drugs

6 August 2009 -- New York -- The William J. Clinton Foundation and the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Matrix Laboratories Ltd have announced an agreement that will lower the cost of second-line antiretroviral drugs for drug-resistant forms of HIV and the TB drug rifabutin.

Pfizer will offer the tuberculosis drug rifabutin in 10 countries for $1 per dose, or $90 for a full course of treatment over six months. Rifabutin is the best TB drug for use in people taking second-line ARVs because other medicines have undesirable interactions with protease inhibitors - the class of ARVs that represent the backbone of second-line treatment. To counteract this effect, ARV dosage is often increased, but this leads to greater toxicity, worse treatment outcomes and higher costs. Pfizer’s rifabutin does not interfere with protease inhibitors.

Matrix, a unit of U.S.-based Mylan Inc, will make four second-line drugs for HIV treatment available at a cost of $475 per year, with further reductions in 2010.

UNITAID helped to make the second-line ARV price reductions announced today possible through its Second-Line Project.