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4 Organizations Join Forces to Bring Generic AIDS Drugs to Poor Nations - 2004-04-06

A foundation established by former U.S. President Bill Clinton is joining forces with three international organizations in an effort to provide inexpensive generic AIDS drugs to more than 100 countries.

The initiative involves the Clinton Foundation, the World Bank, the U.N. Children's Fund and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Plans are still being worked out. But the organizations reportedly hope to buy generic drugs made by Indian and South African companies and provide them to poor countries at prices as low as $140 per patient per year - about one third of the cheapest commercially available price.

The U.S. government is not involved in the new deal, which will rely on fixed dose medicines. Washington has its own $15 billion AIDS initiative to help patients in poor countries. That plan seeks to buy medicines involving multiple combinations of pills from Western pharmaceutical companies that hold patents on the drugs.

Of the estimated six million people with AIDS in poor countries, only some 200,000 currently receive the treatment that can save their lives.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.