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Roche cuts cost of drug to prevent blindness in HIV patients

Will improve access to Valcyte in developing nations

Roche Basel Switzerland

Roche is supporting greater access to one of its drugs to prevent blindness in people with HIV in developing nations by cutting its cost by up to 90 per cent.

The pharma company reached an agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool to provide discounted Valcyte (valganciclovir) at discount to treat the viral infection treat cytomegalovirus (CMV) in HIV patients.

The infection affects around 1 in 10 people living with HIV in low-and middle-income countries, according to Roche, and can lead to vision loss and an increased risk of death.

The deal will provide patients in 138 countries with access to cheaper Valcyte, which offers a cheaper, simpler oral alternative to eye injections from trained healthcare professionals.

“This agreement demonstrates how working together can improve the availability of treatments for people in resource-limited countries,” said Daniel O'Day, Roche's chief operating officer.

The sentiment was backed by Greg Perry, executive director of the Medicines Patent Pool – a UN backed organisation to improve access to HIV medicines.

“The agreement announced today will make an oral treatment for CMV available at lower prices, to help break a cycle of lack of screening and treatment in many countries,” he said, referencing the lack of resources in developing nations to screen effectively HIV patients for CMV.

By making the cost of the medicine lower, countries should now be able to put more resources towards screening, helping to increase uptake of the medicine.

“With medicines available, HIV treatment providers can work on wider diagnosis and treatment and prevent avoidable blindness in people living with HIV,” said Perry.

5th August 2013

From: Sales, Healthcare

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