Find the latest episode of "The Uncertain Hour" here. Listen

Bill Clinton, drug deal superstar

Helen Palmer May 9, 2007


LISA NAPOLI: There’s a price cut on AIDS drugs throughout the developing world, and for that you can thank Bill Clinton. His foundation has negotiated a price of less than $1 a day for the “gold standard” once-a-day AIDS pill. From the Health Desk at WGBH Helen Palmer has more.

HELEN PALMER: AIDS campaigners say President Clinton’s power and charisma make deals like this happen.

TERRY FORD: Taxi-drivers, people at all levels — Clinton is a superstar in their eyes.

Terry Ford is director of global activism for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

FORD: He creates these deals with drug companies that are win-wins. They need quantity orders or they can’t bring their prices down, and Clinton focuses on generating quantity orders.

Thanks to this agreement, 66 countries in the developing world are eligible to buy the drug at a price 50 to 70 percent lower than before.

Other AIDS workers say the price is still too high. Here’s Tido von Schoen-Angerer of Doctors Without Borders.

TIDO VON SCHOEN-ANGERER: It’s still much more expensive than the current first line, which costs $130 — so the prices will have to come down further.

Schoen-Angerer says this is a good step, but 10 million AIDS patients need treatment and only one and a half million actually get drugs.

In Boston, I’m Helen Palmer for Marketplace.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.