PODCAST: The anti-HIV jab is coming to South Africa. Find out when and how
How much will donors and the health department have to pay for these injections, and can the drugmaker make enough of them? In this podcast, Mia Malan asks Mitchell Warren, who leads a group of organisations and donors who look at ways to make the jab available as fast as possible, for answers
In 2022, ViiV Healthcare, the company that makes a revolutionary but expensive HIV prevention injection, announced it was working on a nonprofit price for countries such as South Africa.
The jab, called CAB-LA (short for long-acting cabotegravir), has to be taken every two months and can lower someone’s chances of contracting HIV through sex to virtually zero. It is sold in the US at $3,700 (close to R70,000) a pop.
ViiV, which is based in the UK, told Bhekisisa it will sell CAB-LA at a nonprofit price of £24.70 per jab in 2023 and £23.50 in 2024 (so at between R540 and R570 per shot — you need six per year). The price tag, however, excludes distribution costs.
Cheaper, generic versions of CAB-LA will only be available in three to seven years.
Donors such as the US government’s Aids fund, Pepfar, and the Global Fund for HIV, TB & Malaria, will buy the branded injection for African countries. Experts say ViiV have told them it is able to make just under a million jabs per year, but ViiV has not confirmed this number to Bhekisisa. Is this enough?
In this podcast, Mia Malan asks Mitchell Warren for answers. Warren leads Avac, a group of organisations and donors who look at ways to make the jab available as fast as possible.
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