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AIDS Drugs and Africa

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  • Bell, Elizabeth
    South Africa May Cite Crisis to Lower Cost of AIDS Drugs New York Times (www.nytimes.com) (03/12/01) P. A3; Swarns, Rachel L. South African health officials
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 12, 2001
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      "South Africa May Cite Crisis to Lower Cost of AIDS Drugs"
      New York Times (www.nytimes.com) (03/12/01) P. A3; Swarns,
      Rachel L.
      South African health officials indicate that the government may
      circumvent the pharmaceutical industry's legal challenge of its
      proposal to import and manufacture generic AIDS drugs by
      declaring a national emergency. The overwhelming support from
      drug industry protesters and Merck's move to offer further
      reduced AIDS treatment prices has led the government to abandon
      its prior stance of not violating patents and considering taking
      advantage of a World Trade Organization clause. The government
      would then be in a position to accept Cipla's offer of
      inexpensive generic AIDS drugs. The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers
      Association of South Africa's Mirryena Deeb asserts that her
      group would fight such a move because the government has never
      accepted the offer of free or discounted drugs from
      multinationals before.

      "Yale Pressed to Help Cut Drug Costs in Africa"
      New York Times (www.nytimes.com) (03/12/01) P. A3; McNeil Jr.,
      Donald G.
      Yale University has become entangled in the battle to get
      inexpensive AIDS drugs to Africa. The medical charity Doctors
      Without Borders has asked the school to allow South Africa to
      import a generic version of d4T, a Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS)
      drug on which Yale holds the patent. While the
      university--noting a patent deal with BMS--rejected the charity's
      request, Yale issued a statement Friday noting it had eliminated
      any barriers to the drug company supplying the drug in South
      Africa. In an effort to help the drug--which is sold by BMS
      under the brand name Zerit--reach South Africa, a group of law
      students at Yale has been planning to pressure the school and has
      alleged that there are possible conflicts of interest between BMS
      and the university.

      "Merck & Co."
      Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com) (03/11/01) P. A3;
      Blustein, Paul; Gellman, Barton
      Merck has announced price cuts of AIDS medicines for developing
      countries that will eliminate any profit on drug sales there.
      However, even with this round of drastic cuts, the drugs will be
      much more expensive than most patients can afford in poor
      countries. The drugs may be within the means of aid agencies and
      the philanthropic organizations of more affluent countries,
      potentially opening the door to widespread treatment for HIV
      patients in Africa and other developing areas. Crixivan will be
      available for $600 per year, while Stocrin will cost $500 per
      year--about 10 percent of the price paid in the United States and
      other rich countries--as long as the nations promised not to
      re-export the medicines.

      "Behind Cipla's Offer of Cheap AIDS Drugs: Potent Mix of Motives"
      Wall Street Journal (www.wsj.com) (03/12/01) P. A1; Pearl,
      Daniel; Freedman, Alix
      In addition to accomplishing humanitarian objectives by offering
      the sale of low-priced generic copies of AIDS drugs, Cipla owner
      Yusuf K. Hamied may have been motivated by a desire to establish
      his company's name outside India and to convince the Indian
      government to preserve the rights of generic producers. The
      offer has made Cipla a player in United Nations initiatives to
      lower AIDS drug prices and has helped spearhead an effort by
      major pharmaceutical companies to further reduce prices. Cipla's
      pressuring of the Indian government to place import duties on
      lamivudine and to loosen its price control policies indicates
      that the company does not always act in the interest of reducing
      drug prices. The company's proposal to sell AIDS drug through
      Doctors Without Borders may be a shrewd marketing move given that
      the humanitarian group does not have the expertise to globally
      distribute pharmaceuticals and that local doctors may lack the
      training to dispense and properly dose the medications.

      "Africa: Ivory Coast Makes Deal for Cheaper HIV Drugs"
      Atlanta Journal and Constitution (www.accessatlanta.com)
      (03/11/01) P. 4B
      Three pharmaceutical companies have agreed to significantly
      reduce the prices of their AIDS drugs in Ivory Coast. Under the
      deal, the drug firms-- Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, and
      GlaxoSmithKline--will lower the average monthly cost of treating
      an HIV-infected individual from $425 to between $90 and $100.

      "AIDS Permeates Uganda Politics Too"
      New York Times (www.nytimes.com) (03/12/01) P. A3; Fisher, Ian
      AIDS has become an issue in Uganda's elections, as current
      President Yoweri Museveni has publicly stated that Dr. Kizza
      Besigye, his political rival, is HIV-positive. While Besigye has
      not said what his HIV status is, he declared Saturday, "I have
      absolutely no doubt that there is no medical condition that I
      suffer from which can preclude me from doing the duties of
      president." In a country where, in some areas, 25 percent of
      adults are infected with HIV, Museveni's ploy has actually
      benefited Besigye, since many patients are voters and polls show
      that Besigye has about 40 percent of the vote. Having reduced
      overall infection rates from 30 percent to about 10 percent, Uganda
      is considered a success story in the battle against AIDS.
      Uganda's presidential elections will be held today.
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