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Health

Patients turn to 'buyers clubs' for cheap HIV drugs

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Opening sequence

Health

Patients turn to 'buyers clubs' for cheap HIV drugs

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COMING UP:Patients turn to 'buyers clubs' for cheap HIV drugs

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Transcript

00:00:00
>> Call it the London Buyers Club. Will Nutland is taking drugs to protect himself against HIV infection but he isn't getting them fro Britain's National Health Service.>> This is from an Indian pharmacy and this costs me about 45 pounds a month to bring in. And we now know that this drug works as well as this one does but is nine times cheaper.
00:00:26
>> Will's one of thousands of people who now buy medication from overseas, frustrated by the high price of antiviral drugs. He's buying an HIV prevention medicine known as PrEP and helping to promote the online buyers club in London to help others follow his lead and to shame big pharmaceutical firms in to cutting process.
00:00:46
>> We know that some of the drug companies are making massive profits, from U Hepatitis C drugs from U Cancer drugs. And now from HIV prevention drugs, it's an absolute scandal that the prices are so high that even wealthy National Health Services are saying they can't afford the costs of these drugs.
00:01:06
>> The scheme exploits a loop hole which allows small scale imports of medicines for personal use but regulators warn the drugs for sale might not have been properly tested. Reuter's Ben Hershler has been looking into the growing trend.>> There is some reassurance now, because clinical data presented at a medical conference last month in found that actually treatment supplied through buyers clubs using online generics was just as good as the results we saw in clinical trials with the original branded drugs in the case of both hepatitis C and HIV prevention.
00:01:42
>> And Nutland isn't alone, buyers clubs are also cropping up in Moscow, Sydney and Southeast Asia. The online savings can be huge. An Indian-made course of treatment for hepatitis C can be bought for about 1,000 pounds, compared to around 35,000 for the branded drugs. That's a discount that many will find hard to resist.