Access to HIV/AIDS Diagnostics and Anti-retroviral Treatments

Partnership objectives

  1. Increase access to Roche’s diagnostic tests and medicines for diagnosing, treating and monitoring patients with HIV/AIDS (and CMV co-infection) through no/reduced-profit pricing.
  2. Enable manufacturing of antiretroviral therapies by other companies through technology transfer and by not applying for or enforcing patents in these regions.

Significantly reduced pricing for HIV medicines help people in need receive proper treatment. Significantly reduced pricing for HIV medicines help people in need receive proper treatment. Copyright Roche

What are the health needs and challenges?

In resource-limited countries, the cost of medicines and diagnostics is one of many barriers to medical care. These countries can also be the hardest hit by diseases such as HIV/AIDS. In fact, low- and middle-income countries defined by the World Bank as developing economies, including sub-Saharan Africa, are home to 87% of all people living with HIV/AIDS.

There is a need for increased access to reliable diagnostic testing alongside afforable treatment options for people infected with HIV/AIDS.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

Roche has committed to transparent pricing and patent policies to address barriers to its HIV diagnostics tests and second-line HIV protease inhibitor medicine in countries where resources are scarcest and the need for treatment is greatest.

Roche supplies its protease inhibitor Invirase (saquinavir) at non-profit prices for people living in the low-income countries, including all of sub Saharan Africa (SSA). This covers 63 countries, which are home to 64% of all people living with HIV/AIDS.

These are the lowest prices at which the medicines can viably be sold in the long term and do not reflect research or development costs, marketing costs, distribution costs or company overheads. No-profit prices are annually reviewed and adjusted when necessary to ensure they remain no-profit. Roche also supplies Invirase at significantly reduced prices in middle-income and emerging countries where HIV/AIDS is a growing problem. 

Since 2007, the company has provided Valcyte (valganciclovir), an oral medication for treating AIDS-related cytomegalovirus retinitis (CMVR), at reduced prices for AIDS treatment programmes led by non-governmental organisations in low- and middle-income countries and in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2013, through a purchase agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool, Roche further reduced the price for Valcyte for use in HIV patients, making it 90% cheaper for 138 developing countries, including a number of upper middle-income countries such as India and China.

Through the AmpliCare program, Roche supplies diagnostic HIV tests at the lowest possible price in SSA countries and several countries in South America and Asia.

Roche does not file for new patents or enforce existing patents on Roche medicines in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) or low income countries. In addition, Roche does not file or enforce patents for antiretroviral HIV medicines in sub-Saharan Africa. Not applying patents in these regions enables generic versions of Roche medicines to be produced and distributed in these countries without applying for a license. In addition, through programs like Roche’s Technology Transfer Initiative (completed in 2010), local manufacturers now have the necessary skills to produce generic versions of the HIV medications.

Summary of impact and forward looking information

Non-profit and reduced pricing addresses affordability, with prices similar to or below those of generic versions of the medicines. The reduced prices apply to 87% of all people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.

Partnership information

Company(ies) Roche

Partner(s) Adcock Ingram Healthcare, Addis Pharmaceutical, Aspen Pharmacare, Beximco Pharmaceuticals, CAPS Pharmaceuticals, Cosmos Pharmaceuticals, Medicines Patent Pool, Ministries of Health, Radiant Pharmaceuticals, Regal Pharmaceuticals, Shelys Pharmaceuticals, Varichem Pharmaceuticals, Zenufa Laboratories

Type of Partner(s) Generic Manufacturers, Government, NGOs

Therapeutic Focus Infectious Diseases

Disease(s) HIV/AIDS

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Differential Pricing, Availability of Treatment - Technology Transfer - Manufacturing and Entrepreneurial Know-How, Health System Infrastructure - Training, Research & Development - Development of Treatments

Targeted Population(s) Children, Men, Patients in needs of treatment, People with low income, Women, Youth

Region(s) East Asia & Pacific, Europe & Central Asia, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East & North Africa, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 89

Country(ies) Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia, Moldova, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Philippines, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, The Gambia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, West Bank and Gaza, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Start Date 2002

More information Roche Access to Healthcare

Anticipated completion date Ongoing