UNICEF is committed to helping governments and development partners ensure a safe and reliable supply of antiretroviral medicines (ARVs), to accelerate access to treatment and care for the millions of people living with HIV/AIDS in developing countries. Support for providing life-saving care and treatment is available through UNICEF Procurement Services. UNICEF procurement of ARVs is guided by recommendations from WHO. See WHO Guidelines here.
UNICEF Supply Division places considerable emphasis on the quality of products it procures. Strict guidelines are followed for the sourcing of medicinal products, especially where there are limited or no publicly available quality assurance standards such as for antiretroviral medicines. ARVs supplied by UNICEF are those listed in the WHO pre-qualified list of ARVs under the WHO Prequalification Programme.
Where necessary, UNICEF will carry out a detailed technical evaluation of specific ARVs, in cooperation with relevant partners and regulatory agencies.
Product prices vary depending on a variety of factors including the country’s geographical location, funding source and procurement guidelines, registration and patent situation in the country and specific pricing schemes set by manufacturers. UNICEF will always endeavour to obtain optimal prices for its programmes and its customers without compromising product quality and public procurement policy.
Supply Division meets with ARV manufacturers on a regular basis to ensure sustained quality and product innovation. The Division continues to monitor “on-time-delivery” of goods to its customers as a key performance indicator.
The focus continues to be the availability of improved formulations of paediatric ARVs and products needed for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT). With UNITAID support through the PMTCT project, it is expected that strategic PMTCT product packages will be introduced in 2008. Some paediatric fixed dose combination (FDC) dispensible tablets were USFDA approved in 2007. This is a great milestone in increasing access to paediatric care and treatment of HIV in resource limited settings.
The Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative has negotiated price ceilings with a number of generic suppliers for selected ARVs as well as diagnostic equipment. UNICEF’s agreement with the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative enables it, and in turn countries that have signed an MOU with it, to access these negotiated prices.
For more information on the HIV/AIDS related commodities avalable through UNICEF Supply Division, please visit the UNICEF Supply Catalogue.