THE Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is putting into place a new agreement for purchasing HIV medication that will save close to US$100 million over two years, money that can be reinvested in lifesaving drugs and programmes all over the world.

By using a Pooled Procurement Mechanism, the agreement means lower prices, swifter delivery and more predictable and sustainable long-term supply – delivering on the goals of the Global Fund’s Market Shaping Strategy.

It also yields greater transparency, reducing risks and expenses for countries that implement programmes treating people with HIV. The new approach will also deliver better HIV medication options for children.

The improvements were achieved by bundling the purchase of high volume drugs with lower volume ones which are sometimes more difficult to obtain. Negotiators also focused on improved shelf life and active pharmaceutical ingredient security.

“As well as expanding the supply of life-saving medicines, our new approach will provide deep and sustained savings, to the benefit of people living with HIV across the world,” said Christopher Game, Chief Procurement Officer at the Global Fund.

Making public health resources go further is a core priority of the Global Fund, Mr. Game said. Savings from the new agreement on HIV medication are equivalent to providing anti-retroviral drugs to an additional 400,000 people for two years.

“Just as important,” Mr Game added, “we are shaping the market for these lifesaving drugs, to make them more effective, reliable and affordable for people who really need them.”

Using the Pooled Procurement Mechanism involved a detailed analysis to determine which suppliers could sustainably provide medications at significant scale and quality to meet the needs of both adults and children living with HIV.

This involved visits to manufacturers of both finished and raw materials and built on work with key partners such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI),

Government of South Africa, Médecins Sans Frontières, Pan American Health Organization, The United States President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), UNICEF, UNITAID, USAID and the World Health Organisation.

As of late 2014, the Global Fund has provided financial support programs that put 7.3 million people on antiretroviral medication, a 20 per cent increase over the past year.

The Global Fund is a 21st-century organisation designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics.

As a partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by the diseases, the Global Fund mobilises and invests nearly US$4 billion a year to support programs run by local experts in more than 140 countries. By challenging barriers and embracing innovative approaches, partners are working together to end these epidemics.

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