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Innovative practice

Global Access Program expands access to diagnostic testing for HIV/ AIDS in 82 countries

Aim:

Expand affordable access to quality diagnostic testing for countries hardest hit by HIV/AIDS.

Model:

Combining equitable pricing policies with capacity building and diagnostics R&D.

Partners:

UNAIDS, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS relief (PEPFAR), and the Global Fund.

Scale-up:

To 82 countries and more products for HIV/AIDS testing; and to hepatitis C testing.

Through GAP, Roche is expanding access to the plasma separation card for HIV viral load testing. ©F. Hoffmann-La Roche 2018

How is this model improving access to HIV testing?
Roche is a market leader in HIV viral load testing. It launched its Global Access Program (GAP) in 2014 to expand sustainable access to quality HIV testing in countries hardest hit by the virus. Some 35 million people live with HIV/AIDS globally. Roche’s systems provide laboratories with very efficient solutions for routine molecular testing, offering performance, flexibility and automation. The programme, created by Roche in partnership with UNAIDS, CHAI, PEPFAR, and the Global Fund, contributes to the overall UNAIDS 90-90-90 goals. These envisage that by 2020, 90% of people with HIV will know their status, 90% of those who know their status will receive treatment, and 90% of those treated will have a suppressed viral load.

On launching the Global Access Program in 2014, Roche aims to expand access to one of its HIV diagnostics through a special pricing scheme for qualifying organisations in eligible countries. Since then, the Global Access Program has increased access to HIV viral load tests and early infant diagnostics at substantially reduced prices in sub-Saharan Africa and other countries with a high burden of disease.

How has this business model been scaled-up?
In July 2016, Roche expanded GAP to include the latest high-throughput automated platforms for low- and middle-income countries. In 2017, Roche reports that more than 10 million viral load tests were performed on its platforms, a 19% increase from 2016, and 2.5 times higher since 2014 when the programme initially began. Working with CHAI, Roche now offers special access pricing for diagnostic products for early infant diagnosis and viral load testing for qualifying government and NGO organisations in 82 eligible countries.

Collaborating with governments, international agencies, local healthcare facilities and communities, Global Access builds and equips laboratories, trains healthcare workers, diagnoses and monitors people living with HIV/AIDS, and innovates in research and development. In early 2018, for example, Roche launched its plasma separation card, a stable, easy-to-use sample collection device for HIV plasma viral load testing. This does not need refrigeration during transport to the lab, and is increasing access to testing for those in remote areas, even areas of extreme heat and humidity.

Roche has extended this model to other health initiatives. Drawing on shared HIV expertise, with CHAI and Duke Health it launched the Quick Start Programme to address hepatitis C. Working with the governments of Ethiopia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Rwanda and Vietnam, this initiative has set itself the aim of curing 25,000 people who have hepatitis C virus, within two years.

Global Access is combining sustainable pricing policies with innovative research and development to make diagnostic tests more usable. It represents best practice, and has demonstrated its ability to scale up in countries where price is a barrier to treatment.


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