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Cabinet has approved four contracts totalling $112.782 million to procure anti-retroviral drugs for the treatment of HIV/AIDS patients, under the Treatment Prevention and Policy Project.
Making the announcement at the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, yesterday (December 11), Minister of Information and Development, Donald Buchanan said the contracts were awarded to: Abbott Laboratories of Puerto Rico in the sum of $30.111 million; Medi-Grace Limited (Jamaica), $38.765 million; Gilead USA, $22.357 million; and Hetero Drugs Limited of India, $21.549 million.
“This is to enhance the treatment of HIV patients affected in Jamaica and is another step by the Ministry of Health and the Government of Jamaica in the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS,” Minister Buchanan stated.
The project, which is a Global Fund initiative, is a national multi-sector response to prevent the spread of, and address the HIV/AIDS issue in Jamaica. This is being done through the scaling up of efforts to provide anti-retroviral drugs for Persons Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA); promote safer sex practices, including abstinence; complete and implement policies and a legislative framework specifically addressing stigma and discrimination, aimed at PLWHAs and vulnerable high risk groups.
An overall national policy, workplace policies, and the structures necessary to pass and implement them are included. Jamaica expects, over five years, to establish HIV infection as a chronic disease, with universally used treatment protocols, acceptance by the general community, normalisation in the workplace, and reduction in new HIV infections. The Global Fund grant agreement was signed on May 14, 2004.
The Global Fund requires that there be on-going tendering for the supply of anti-retroviral drugs to ensure that there is not only timely supply but also that there is also no commitment over a long time to any one particular entity.