"HIV Drug Prices Cut for Poorer Countries"
Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com) (03/08/01) P. A1;
Blustein, Paul; Gellman, Barton
While health officials admit that Merck's new round of price
slashing for AIDS drugs in poor nations is still too expensive
for most governments to handle, they believe that the cost will
allow international efforts to more easily raise the funds
necessary for bulk purchases. Merck has been prompted to bring
its prices to nonprofit levels because of intense pressure from
activists and government to increase access to AIDS treatments.
ACT UP Philadelphia's Kate Krauss does question Merck's move in
light of the fact that the company is part of a lawsuit designed
to prevent South Africa from increasing its citizens' access to
more affordable AIDS treatments. Per Wold-Olsen, president of
human health business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa for
Merck, feels that public/private partnerships are a better means
of increasing drug access than price cuts alone.
"AIDS Drug Battle Deepens in Africa"
New York Times (www.nytimes.com) (03/08/01) P. 1; Swarns,
Cipla Ltd., a generic drug manufacturing firm in India, has
requested that the South African government give the company
permission to sell eight AIDS drugs that are currently available
only under patent from large drug giants. The controversial
initiative by Cipla began another battle in the ongoing battle
over patented medicines between major pharmaceutical companies
and the South African government. In a letter Wednesday, Cipla
asked South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry to grant
compulsory licensing for the drugs, a move that could be
undertaken on the grounds that demand was not being met at fair
prices in national emergencies. While such a decision could give
the company an advantage in the African market, the large
pharmaceutical companies assert that the higher drug prices are
needed so they can conduct research.
"A 'World of Difference' in Reproductive Health Big Surprise:
High Rate of U.S. Teen Moms"
USA Today (www.usatoday.com) (03/08/01) P. 8D; Rubin, Rita
In a study conducted by Population Action International (PAI),
a Washington, D.C., policy group, and by the international relief
agency CARE, the United States ranked 15th out of 133 countries
in an analysis of reproductive health risks. The report
evaluated countries based on factors like prenatal care, HIV
infection rates, use of contraception, and abortion laws. Italy
came in at No. 1, while Ethiopia ranked at the bottom for very
high risk; most of the countries designated "high risk" or "very
high risk" are in sub-Saharan Africa. The report noted that
while the United States scored well on many measures, it has more
teen mothers than any other industrialized nation. The report
highlighted the fact that in developing countries, women are 30
times more likely to die from reproductive-health-related issues.
For instance, for an Ethiopian woman the chances are one in seven
that she will die as a result of pregnancy or reproductive
complications, compared to an American woman whose chance of
dying under identical circumstances is one in 3,500.
"Sex Trafficker's Demand for Kids on Rise"
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (www.accessatlanta.com) (03/08/01)
P. 20A; Malone, Julia
A new report led by Laura J. Lederer of the Johns Hopkins
University's School of Advanced International Studies indicates
that sex trafficking of women and children is an ever-growing
global problem. "The simple reason for the growth of trafficking
in recent years is that it is profitable," the report noted.
Lederer's Protection Project is the accumulation of data
documenting sexual slavery in 190 countries, including the United
States. During an interview on Wednesday, Lederer commented that
the AIDS epidemic has given sex trafficking a higher price and a
growing market demand for much younger children who are less
likely to be infected with HIV.
"Botswana Diamond Firm to Help Workers With HIV-AIDS"
Reuters (www.reuters.com) (03/07/01)
On Wednesday, one of the most significant corporate AIDS funding
programs was initiated by Botswana's diamond mining giant
Debswana, which announced that it would pay for antiretroviral
AIDS drugs for its workers. Debswana, which employs 6,000 people
at its three mines, has offered to pay 90 percent of the
treatment costs for one employee and one legally married spouse
who is HIV-positive. The company--a joint venture between the
government and industry leader DeBeers--is the world's largest
source of diamonds by value, accounting for 80 percent of
Botswana export earnings and 50 percent of government revenues.
According to United Nation's estimates, Botswana has the world's
highest incidence of HIV infection, with an adult prevalence rate
of 35.8 percent.