JIS News

Cabinet has awarded contracts totalling approximately US$1.17 million to acquire Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs under the HIV/AIDS Treatment, Prevention and Policy Project.
Speaking at a post Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, yesterday (December 5), Minister of Information, Senator Burchell Whiteman informed that Medi-Grace Limited has been awarded a contract for US$462,380 and Abbott Laboratories, Puerto Rico, US$474,174.63, to supply local health facilities with the ARV drugs.
“Three other contracts totalling some US$236,000 have also been shared among Gilead, USA; Bristol- Myers Squibb, Puerto Rico; and Lasco Distributors of Jamaica, to supply antiretroviral drugs,” the Minister added.
The purpose of the antiretroviral therapy is to: reduce the HIV viral load as much as possible, preferably to detectable levels, for as long as possible; assure that less damage will be inflicted on the immune system so that patients will experience an improvement in their immune functioning and to delay the onset of AIDS; enhance the quality of life and reduce opportunistic infections; and reduce the impact of HIV transmission in the community.
Mr. Whiteman pointed out that all drugs would be available for purchase through existing government mechanisms and also through public health facilities and the newly developed treatment centres, to ensure that there would be minimal cost to those who utilize these services.
As for those persons who might not be able to afford the drugs, he said that Minister of Health, John Junor, had informed last week on World AIDS Day (December 1), that provisions would be put in place to provide these persons with the drugs, free of cost.