GlaxoSmithKline Plc, the world's leading maker of HIV/AIDS treatments, has struck a deal to supply cut price AIDS drugs to Russia, it said on Friday.

The move is the latest step by the pharmaceutical industry to offer discounted medicines to needy countries, following past criticism that it is more interested in profits than patients.

The Glaxo deal is the first direct, federal purchase of anti retroviral medicines in Russia and covers the supply of over 90,000 treatment packs of Glaxo's drugs Combivir, Epivir and Ziagen by the end of 2006.

The move will help the Russian government hit its goal of reaching 15,000 patients by the end this year a target which has been doubled to 30,000 in 2007.

Glaxo, along with other leading manufacturers, already supplies AIDS drugs at not for profit prices in sub Saharan Africa, the region worst hit by the pandemic, and other poor countries.