UNITAID’s approach to transform health product markets has delivered price reductions of up to 80% for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria medicines and diagnostics for the world’s poor, according to Results Beyond Investment, its 2012 Annual Report just released.
As global health funding stagnates, the report shows how the proceeds from UNITAID’s main funding source – a levy on air tickets – has been invested in catalytic interventions that shape markets, achieving “results beyond investment.” According to UNITAID’s first independent evaluation, released in December 2012, these interventions achieved better outcomes than those of traditional investments in public health service delivery, because of a “multiplier effect:”
- Through negotiations with drug manufacturers, UNITAID achieved price reductions of over 80 % for key HIV medicines. These reductions now allow major global health funders such as the Global Fund to provide treatments for three times as many patients with the same money.
- UNITAID created new markets for neglected areas such as paediatric HIV. Before UNITAID there were no child-adapted medicines for HIV. UNITAID provided an incentive for manufacturers to create specially-adapted HIV drugs for children and over 400,000 children have been put on treatment. In 2012, UNITAID ensured that this market was sustainable, enabling countries like Swaziland to fund paediatric HIV drugs with their own domestic funds.
- Price reductions are available to all countries, even those not supported by UNITAID. In 2012, UNITAID obtained a price reduction on a key tuberculosis rapid test. In only three months, South Africa and Brazil, neither directly supported by UNITAID, saw millions of dollars in cost-savings.
- Consumer prices brought down by 80% for the best malaria drugs available, in five endemic countries in Africa through subsidies to the private sector. Since UNITAID’s creation, over 327,000,000 of the best quality malaria medicines have been distributed.
The UNITAID Report also discusses UNITAID’s disciplined grant-making process, made to ensure that money is invested in interventions with the most impact and best value for money. The report details new 2012 grants, including the largest yet investment in innovative testing technology to bring portable and easy-to-use diagnostic tools into remote areas throughout Africa ($140 million), and a set of new grants that will increase access to better medicines for the three diseases for hundreds of thousands of children in developing countries.
UNITAID (www.unitaid.org) is a global health initiative launched in 2006 by the governments of Brazil, Chile, France, Norway and the United Kingdom to provide sustainable funding for the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. About 70% of UNITAID’s funds come from a small levy on airline tickets. Through implementers, UNITAID finances the purchase of medicines and diagnostics for patients in poor countries, using its market power to expand supply, promote development of new and better products, cut delivery lead times and reduce prices.