doctors without borders, a leading medical aid group, said on Tuesday rising intellectual property rights are blocking the generic production of newer drugs to treat HIV and are keeping them out of reach for developing countries.
at an international aids meeting in kuala lumpur, Malaysia, the group said prices of older drugs long used to treat patients have fallen sharply as india and other countries make generics. but newer, more effective drugs against the aids virus are too expensive, costing up to 15 times more.
"it's good news that the price of key hiv drugs continues to fall as more generic companies compete for the market, but the newer medicines are still priced far too high," said Jennifer cohn, medical director for doctor without borders' access campaign. she said, "we need the newer treatments for people that have exhausted all other options, but patents keep them priced beyond reach."
according to doctor without borders, the governments of Thailand and Jamaica pay $4,760 and $6,570, respectively, a year per patent for the new drug, darunavir alone. Paraguay pays $7,782 for etravirine, while Armenia pays $13,213 for raltegravir. by comparison, a cocktail of older generic drugs costs as little as $139 per person a year.
the group also said the world health organization's new guidelines, which recommend earlier treatment for adults, means an additional nine million people in developing countries will now be eligible for treatment. currently, only about 60% of those who need the drugs are getting them.
arax bozadijan, an hiv pharmacist for doctors without borders, said, "scaling up hiv treatment and sustaining people on treatment for life will depend on bringing the price of newer drugs down." the trans-pacific pact countries account for nearly 40% of global gdp and about a third of world trade; any agreement could significantly impact prices. the obama administration says it hopes to wrap up talks by the end of the year.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.