Credit: ANNA ZIEMINSKI, AFP/GETTY
On the heels of World AIDS Day, AHF celebrates a breakthrough for infants around the world and praises generic drug manufacturer Cipla for the creation of a more palatable pediatric formulation of antiretroviral (ARV) therapy.
HIV medicines for children have historically been produced as hard pills or bitter syrups that require refrigeration. But Cipla’s new drug, Quadrimune, is strawberry-flavored, comes in granular form and can be mixed with liquid or sprinkled on baby cereal. The drug is also very affordable at $1 per day—a miniscule price to pay for the life of a child.
“This is great news for pediatric treatment and HIV positive babies around the world—AHF praises Cipla for their efforts that will save the lives of so many more children worldwide!” said AHF Chief of Global Advocacy and Policy Terri Ford. “We have advocated for non-bitter pediatric ARVs that improve adherence and lower mortality in pediatric cases, and even added the issue to our ‘AIDS Reality Check’ satellite at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam in 2018. Cipla’s new drug is a huge leap forward towards improving pediatric access to treatment.”
In the past, pharmaceutical companies have had no incentive to create and produce a more palatable pediatric formula—largely due to the greatest demand being in developing countries where there were no opportunities for high profits.
“Until now, big pharma has unfortunately shown us that babies born in poor countries have been expendable—and particularly in Africa,” said AHF Africa Bureau Chief Dr. Penninah Iutung. “Thankfully Cipla has stepped up and created a true gamechanger for children with HIV. With the drug’s affordability, coupled with it being much more palatable, exponentially more children will now have increased access to treatment—one of AHF’s core missions.”
According to UNAIDS, approximately 160,000 children become newly infected with HIV every year, and children ages 0-4 with HIV are most likely to die than any people living with HIV of any other age group.