April 28, 2006
Access to AIDS Treatment: An Equity Issue
I promise to keep this short–over the weekend I wrote a post on the impact the Big Pharma is having on the fight against AIDS in Africa. I found this article on the Washington Post. The National Institute of Health refused to get involved with AIDS activists who want to challenge drug companies to lower the price on anti retrovirals. It’s a couple of years old, but it’s an interesting read.
The activists are concerned with the increase in price of the AIDS drug Norvirin the U.S. and not in regard to its availability overseas. Back then–in 2004–the Bush administration had not taken steps to override the patents of ARVs so a generic brand can be created.
I searched on the NIH’s website and found a press release stating last month that the Food & Drug Administration has tentatively approved a package of generic AIDS drugs. Under the program, two million HIV-infected people will receive treatment and another ten million people affected by HIV will get care. The press release doesn’t go into more details about how ‘treatment’ and ‘care’ will be differentiated. With the number of people with HIV/AIDS in Africa estimated at 60% of the population—this doesn’t seem to make much of a dent…but this is a step in the right direction…
Now we have to see how global initiatives on access to AIDS treatment can take shape.