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Clinton Foundation Sets Up Malaria-Drug Price Plan - Aim Is to Stabilize Fluctuating Prices, Boost Availability

Former President Bill Clinton's foundation is set to unveil a pricing agreement Thursday that it hopes will make malaria drugs available to millions of poor people... First-line malaria drugs -- known as ACTs, for artemisinin-based combination therapies -- present a tricky problem: the volatile cost of the powerful antimalarial plant extract artemisinin... Such instability makes it difficult for those in the market -- from artemisinin producers to pharmaceutical companies to the health ministries that often buy the drugs -- to plan. That can make pharmaceutical companies wary of reducing prices for fear of another price spike and deter generic-drug makers from entering the market and fostering more-competitive pricing. The agreement Mr. Clinton plans to announce aims to limit price fluctuations... Scheduled to join Mr. Clinton at the presentation is Novartis AG Chief Executive Daniel Vasella. The Swiss drug company has been supplying the overwhelming majority of ACTs in the developing world...at an overall loss that Dr. Vasella said exceeds $100 million, including research-and-development costs. Mr. Clinton is expected to thank Novartis for supplying the drug and for not raising the price despite the artemisinin price increase.

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