The availability of generic ARVs was important for the expansion of treatment in developing countries. This paper argues that it is therefore imperative to examine which factors have shaped generics companies’ decisions to supply these drugs. This will help us better understand the development of the global AIDS response in the past and how to address some of its future challenges. This paper illustrates the value of combining the investigation of political and economic dynamics with a focus on how they affect the commercial considerations of companies that supply products required by society. In doing so it contributes to the existing literature on business in global governance, which tends to focus on how business affects states’ decision-making but neglects how global governance influences companies’ decisions to produce some goods and not others.