SA drops price of ARVs‚ saves R11bn in six years

22 September 2017 - 18:04 By Timeslive
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. File photo
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. File photo
Image: THULI DLAMINI

South Africa is introducing a new single-pill antiretroviral‚ which will save the country about R11-billion over the next six years.

Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said in a statement on Friday that the large volumes of ARVs bought by South Africa and its commitment to provide treatment to people with HIV were used to leverage a decrease in the price.

The agreement‚ negotiated with international organisations and agencies‚ meant the fixed-dose combination treatment will cost about $75 (about R991) per person a year.

The pill contains three drugs‚ Tenofovir‚ Lamivudine and Dolutegravir and will be introduced in April next year.

Motsoaledi said Dolutegravir is a highly effective antiretroviral with fewer side effects.

Another side-effect of the deal is it will decrease pressure on the country’s fiscus.

In addition‚ the lower price will benefit low and middle income countries and “the agreement is expected to accelerate treatment rollout as part of global efforts to reach 36.7 million people living with HIV”‚ the minister said.

The department’s HIV programme has grown from 923,000 people on treatment in 2009 to 3.9 million as of August this year. The department’s aim is to have 6 million HIV positive people on treatment by 2022.

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