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Beckman to Supply AIDS Tests to S. Africa

March 24, 2004|From Bloomberg News

Beckman Coulter Inc., which makes laboratory equipment, will provide as many as 15 million discounted HIV and AIDS monitoring tests to South Africa in five years under a program sponsored by former President Clinton.

The Clinton Foundation is working with governments, companies and nongovernmental groups to provide discounted acquired immune deficiency syndrome treatment and prevention education in Africa and the Caribbean. Clinton announced in January that Beckman, Bayer Diagnostics India Ltd., Becton, Dickinson & Co., BioMerieux Pierre Fabre and Roche Diagnostics all agreed to provide AIDS tests.

Beckman, based in Fullerton, has shipped the first 80,000 blood tests used to ensure that patients are taking their medicines and that the drugs are working, company spokeswoman Anne Warde said. The company expects to ship as many as 400,000 tests by the end of the year and as many as 15 million tests through 2008.

The company declined to say how much it was being paid for the tests or how large a discount it was providing.

The National Health Laboratory Service in South Africa is paying Beckman for the tests, and the foundation is guaranteeing payment, Warde said.

The Clinton Foundation has said its agreements will cut patients' costs for AIDS tests by as much as 80%, saving as much as $300 million in South Africa over five years.

Shares of Beckman Coulter rose 8 cents to $51.11 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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