Push and pull as US firm begins packing ARVs in larger containers

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There is a push and pull between a US-based company and people living with HIV over packing ARVs in larger containers.
This according to President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pefar) will save money for packaging.
The move has however been rejected by people living with HIV and activists who say larger containers will expose them to scrutiny, identification and stigma.
Head of the local HIV lobby Nephak Nelson Otuoma said the bigger containers are a bad idea.
“Adolescents and young people and partners in a discordant relationship are strongly opposed to bigger drug containers,” he said.
Currently, ARVS are dispensed in small plastic containers for 30 pills.
Pepfar has asked the Health ministry to prepare for two larger containers of 100 and 180 pills.
The firm has announced it will slash the financing to Kenya from Sh50.5 billion this financial year to Sh35 billion next year.
Pepfar argues that it is cheaper to package and distribute larger containers.
This means patients will only need to visit health facilities once in three months or once in six months to get the larger containers.
The announcement was made last week at a meeting convened by the Ministry of Health.
About one million are on ARVs, at an annual cost of Sh8 billion, 20 per cent financed by the government and the rest paid for by Pepfar and the Global Fund.

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