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More Low-Cost AIDS Drugs Mean More People Treated

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U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric GoosbyU.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby
U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby
U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby


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  • More Low Cost Anti-AIDS Drugs Mean More People Treated

This is the VOA Special English Health Report.
An American program called the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief helps millions of people infected with HIV, the virus responsible for AIDS. PEPFAR is considered one of the most successful programs created during the presidency of George W. Bush. Its goal was to change HIV/AIDS from a death sentence to a disease that, while serious, could be treated. And for millions of people around the world, that is just what happened.
But researchers say it was not until PEPFAR started using generic drugs that major progress was made in fighting HIV/AIDS. Generic drugs are copies of medicines developed by large drug companies. But they often cost a lot less.
Researchers from Brown University in Rhode Island studied the effectiveness of PEPFAR. Kartik Venkatesh was the lead author of a report on the study. He says the high cost of patented antiretroviral drugs had an immediate influence on the program after it began.
American officials considered whether to provide patented drugs to HIV-infected patients, both in the United States and overseas. Dr. Venkatesh says some people believe that the drug industry wanted the government-financed program to use patented drugs.
But generic drugs were shown to be effective in treating HIV as far back as two thousand three. Using generic drugs helped cut the cost of treating a person from about one thousand one hundred dollars a year to about three hundred dollars a year in two thousand five.
PEPFAR has also been able to save millions of dollars by reducing transportation costs -- for example, using ships instead of airplanes to move the drugs. Dr. Venkatesh says the PEPFAR model could be used in the fight against other diseases as developing countries begin seeing health problems that until recently had only been seen in richer countries.
DR. KARTIK VENKATESH: “There is a movement towards understanding that the real and perhaps potentially larger burden in the future is also going to be chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes (and) cancer. And those are also diseases that require chronic, long-term medication. A lot can be learned from the experience about accessing generics for the treatment of HIV.” (:23)
The Brown University researchers have proposed creation of a plan for what they call the “efficient and transparent” purchase of generic drugs. Planners would include the United States, the World Health Organization and the makers of generic drugs.
And that’s the VOA Special English Health Report. I’m Christopher Cruise.
Contributing: Joe De Capua
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Comment Sorting
by: thanh hien from: vietnam
09/09/2012 1:01 PM
there are many people who imflect HIV. Rescue them is responsible of the world. We sympathym with them but I think about the cause of this disease.Many people don't contact with outside, they may be poor, have no condition to receive information to prevent serious disease. Their life is too difficult to buy medecin to rescue themselves. Many people don't think about the way which protect them in sex habit, too freedom in sex lead to HIV. They must be punished by law

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
08/30/2012 1:12 AM
It seems worldwide trend that patented drugs are getting replaced by generic drungs one by one in hospitals. Governments have been promoting the use of generic drugs in economical aspect. It would be true that big pharmacological companies get a lot of profit evenif taking account of new drug developping cost and pressure the government's budget increase of health care. In promoting generics use, concerns are how the quality and efficiency of generics keep assured as mentioned at the last of this article. Generics makers are also operated on profit-first principle like drug innovating companies. If all chronic deseases are candidates for the treatment with generic drugs, it must be a tremendous marckets for generic companies. We should be with conscience prior to be merchants.

by: Tien from: VietNam
08/29/2012 7:11 AM
nowadays, the cost ART is free for all patient. in my country, almost the money we received from PEPFAR. In few next year, they will not support my country. The price is too high in developing country.