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Supplies and Logistics

The latest hardcopy update of the interagency publication "Sources and Prices of Selected Medicines and Diagnostics for People Living with HIV/AIDS" has been released in June 2005, by UNICEF, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the World Health Organization (WHO) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The 2006 data has been in an electronic version only in beginning 2007. Both documents give purchasers of AIDS medicines and diagnostics a range of choices related to suppliers and affordability. The medicines included were selected on the basis of WHO standard treatment guidelines, although it must be highlighted that the lists are not intended to be exhaustive, but to cover the most commonly used HIV/AIDS medicines, with the paediatric forms included wherever possible.

The reports include antiretroviral (ARV) medicines, medicines used to treat a range of opportunistic infections, medicines for use in palliative care, medicines for the treatment of HIV-related cancers and for the management of opioid dependence. It also provides information on a range of test kits for the diagnosis of HIV/AIDS and for the monitoring of ARV therapy and drug resistance.

In addition, the ninth edition of the MSF document, 'Untangling the Web of Price Reductions: a pricing guide for the purchase of ARVs for developing countries' has been included as an annex to the 2006 data. This document provides a comprehensive overview of the prices of ARV medicines offered by research-based pharmaceutical companies and some generic manufacturers in low- and middle-income countries.

Of the more than 40 million people living with HIV/AIDS today, over 95 per cent live in developing countries. Many of them do not have access to even the basic medicines needed to treat minor ailments, not to mention HIV-related infections. In many of the poorest countries, essential medicines including painkillers, antibiotics, and tuberculosis medicines are in desperately short supply. Even with significant recent reductions in the prices of many of the medicines needed in HIV/AIDS care and support, especially anti-retroviral drugs, their lack of affordability is one of the main barriers to their availability in developing countries. Where cheaper alternatives exist, many decision-makers do not have the information they need to identify appropriate suppliers for these drugs.

Managed by UNICEF, the survey counts on the expertise of MSF, UNAIDS and WHO. For more information please write to UNICEF Supply Division at supply@unicef.org




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