AAI - Accelerating Access Initiative
The Accelerating Access Initiative (AAI), begun in 2000, is a partnership between UNAIDS, the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Bank and seven research-based pharmaceutical companies (Abbott, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck & Co., Inc., Roche, Tibotec (an affiliate of Johnson & Johnson) and ViiV Healthcare, which combines the HIV medicine operations of GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer. Participants in AAI are committed to working with governments, international organizations and other stakeholders to find ways to broaden access, whilst ensuring rational, safe and effective use of medicines for HIV/AIDS. The strong commitment of the AAI companies to improve access to treatment has manifested itself in many innovative ways. All AAI companies have individual programs through which they provide their own antiretroviral medicines at more affordable prices in developing countries. Some AAI companies have also expanded manufacturing capacity to meet product demand in the developing world. Individual AAI companies are also taking other actions to increase the overall availability of ARVs, including the granting of voluntary licenses or non-assert declarations, contract manufacturing with generic manufacturers and technology transfer agreements. These efforts are delivering results. As of 30 September 2008, some 773,803 patients in developing countries were estimated to be taking one or more medicines supplied at preferential prices by an AAI company. In addition, the number of patients in developing countries treated with generic ARVs - including those through cooperative efforts with AAI companies - has increased significantly. AAI companies also recognize that expanded access to medications requires a collaborative approach with governments, NGOs, multilateral organizations, and other public and private bodies. Many AAI companies are involved in initiatives to strengthen healthcare systems, streamline product registrations, and conduct clinical studies in developing countries. AAI companies also continue to invest significantly in research and development of new medications - including pediatric formulations - and diagnostics, to help combat the global HIV/AIDS pandemic.