Breakthrough brings cost of HIV treatment to under $100 per patient per year

Nov 27, 2015

Savings provide funds for an additional 250,000 people on HIV treatment

Geneva – UNDP has achieved significant reductions in the price of HIV medicines that it procures, bringing down the cost of the most common treatment to an unprecedented US$100 per patient per year in Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Mali, South Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Through these price reductions UNDP is saving US$ 25 million that are being used to put an additional 250,000 people on life-saving HIV treatment.

UNDP currently supports the implementation of HIV grants financed by the Global Fund in 19 countries. Through these programmes, 2.2 million people living with HIV currently receive life-saving antiretroviral therapy.  

Back in 2000, HIV medicine cost over US$ 10,000 per patient per year. Within a year this prohibitive price plummeted when generic manufacturers began to offer treatment for US$ 350 per year. Since then, and thanks to healthy competition among quality-assured generic manufacturers, the price continued to fall to around US $ 150 per patient per year. These dramatic price reductions made it possible to provide HIV treatment to 15.8 million people, up from a mere 700,000 people 15 years ago.

The most recent further price reduction below US$100 per patient per year achieved by UNDP applies to the one-pill combination of three HIV medicines, known as TLE (Tenofovir, Lamivudine and Efavirenz), a regimen recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and most widely-used first-line antiretroviral therapy.

A range of actions by UNDP have led to long-term agreements and improved procurement planning with countries and manufacturers, discounts on large volumes, pooled orders, and reductions in transport and handling costs. Increased competition between manufacturers has led to a broadening supply base and  support from partners including the Global Fund, UNICEF, and WHO.

These savings free up funds for countries to put more people on treatment and keep more people alive. Putting additional people on treatment contributes to curbing new infections and realizing the global goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

The value of TLE medicines procured by UNDP through long-term agreements in 2014 - 2015 reached US$ 150 million. The combination of various savings have now totaled US$ 25 million thanks to these price reductions. The savings are freeing up resources that can now buy HIV medicines for an additional 250,000 people, the equivalent of all HIV patients in the UK, Germany and France combined.

As a notable success story, the Ministry of Health and Child Care in Zimbabwe is providing HIV treatment to 850,000 people and is set to reach 1 million people next year, with the support of the Global Fund, PEPFAR, DFID and UNDP.

In this latest round of procurement, UNDP was able to purchase 4.8 million packs of medicines for US$ 40 million for Zimbabwe – resulting in savings of over US$ 11 million compared to previous orders. With these savings, an additional 110,000 people in Zimbabwe can now be put on HIV treatment – the equivalent of all HIV patients in the France and Sweden combined.

The environment is also benefiting from these cost savings. More than 200 medicine shipments this year were made through a new mechanism that optimizes transportation costs, including using sea and overland freight in lieu of air shipments. This is a double win with more people on life-saving treatment because of reduced costs of treatment and a reduction of CO2 emissions.


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Contact information

Sarah Bel, Communication Specialist:

Tel: + 41 79 934 11 17


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