[Ip-health] WHO Approval of Adult Male Circumcision Device: UNITAID Calls for More Affordable Products

COURTNEY, Clare courtneyc at unitaid.who.int
Thu Jun 6 01:05:40 PDT 2013

WHO Approval of Adult Male Circumcision Device: UNITAID Calls for More Affordable Products

UNITAID welcomes the World Health Organization's (WHO) approval for the first time of a non-surgical adult male circumcision device that can be used to help the prevention of HIV transmission, but warns that more market competition is needed to make these easy-to-produce tools affordable for supply to the world's poorest.

Known as PrePex(tm), each device reportedly costs as much as US$ 20 today.

Male circumcision has been recommended by the WHO for HIV prevention following landmark trials in three sub-Saharan countries in 2007, which showed that circumcising adult men reduces the risk of HIV infection by 60%. "Non-surgical devices can be game-changers in the global response to HIV/AIDS, by providing a safe and rapid way to circumcise adults in regions lacking hospital infrastructure. But at its current price, PrePex(tm) is simply too expensive to reach the 20 million adult male circumcisions needed in Africa by 2015" said UNITAID Executive Director Dr Denis Broun.

Until recently, the main method for circumcising adult males has been surgery. So far, PrePex(tm)is the only non-surgical device to receive approval by the WHO Prequalification Programme, needed for large-scale purchase by global health organisations. Several other non-surgical devices are also currently being tested with their approval expected later this year. UNITAID is the principle funder of the Prequalification Programme, the only global quality assurance programme for health products.

"The only way to guarantee functioning accessible markets for health products in developing countries is to encourage healthy competition that drives prices down," added Dr Denis Broun. "As new products are approved, UNITAID will be closely watching this market and can respond to any excessively high prices by supporting competition."

Countries that have already conducted studies using the device found it effective and easy-to-use. However, a recent study<http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0063134> in Uganda found that the cost-effectiveness of PrePex(tm) is only 2% less than the current surgical method, because of its high price.

UNITAID is a global health initiative launched in 2006 by the governments of Brazil, Chile, France, Norway and the United Kingdom to provide sustainable funding for the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. About 70% of UNITAID's funds come from a small levy on airline tickets. Through implementers, UNITAID finances the purchase of medicines and diagnostics for patients in poor countries, using its market power to expand supply, promote development of new and better products, cut delivery lead times and reduce prices.
For more info: www.unitaid.org<http://www.unitaid.org>

Clare COURTNEY | Communications Manager | UNITAID
Tel. +41 22 791 4581 | Cell. +41 79 445 2280 | courtneyc at unitaid.who.int
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