Expanding global access to ARVs in emerging and poor countries in Sub-Saharan Africa: the challenges of prices and patents

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Nunes, José Mauro Gonçalves
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Affordability is a key concern of international donors who finance antiretroviral drugs to treat AIDS in Sub-Saharan African countries. The ability of Sub-Saharan Africa to reduce their prices below large-scale manufacturers in India is challenging. Additionally, these medicines must meet The World Health Organization prequalification standards. While the cost of second-line ARVs remains a concern, donors should also focus resources on other factors of ARV access, such as the supply of human resources for health, infrastructure and issues of sustainable financing. This research specifically aims to determine if the domestic production of
antiretroviral drugs can be a successful and viable option to increase access to ARVs in sub-Saharan Africa by using three case studies of Uganda, Kenya and The democratic Republic of Congo. The research is intended to explore a potentially economical way to provide ARVs to populations with HIV/AIDS in order to move away from a dependence on foreign aid, which does not guarantee continued long-term access to the medications. Since ARVs must be taken daily for the duration of the patient's life, it is important to develop ways to increase access to the medications in a manner that facilitates the long-term drug procurement. The success of local manufacturers then relies on the capacity of the firm to achieve two necessary elements of donor-financed requirements: international quality standards and economies of scale to lower price. I recommend that more countries in Africa should produce ARVs locally in order to lower to cost and increase accessibility, especially in small villages. Even though the current operation of local production has not led to a significant increase in access primarily due to market entry restrictions, this endeavor have the ability to amplify long-term access to affordable ARV drugs

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