Monday, October 13, 2008

Pharmaceutical Firms Pledge HIV/AIDS R&D for Resource-Poor

Last week, after meeting with pharmaceutical executives from 17 different firms, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that major pharmaceutical firms were pledging to invest more in research and development on HIV/AIDS treatments and diagnostic procedures for poorer and resource-limited regions, as well as prevention and vaccines.

Despite research developments and new products, inequities in access to medicines continue: "We noted that despite the gains, the epidemic continues to outstrip our best efforts. Only one-third of those who need antiretroviral treatment in low-and middle-income countries are getting it." The Millenium Development Goal 6 is specifically concerned with achieving universal access to HIV/AIDS medicine by 2010 and the halt of the spread of the disease by 2015.

The firms that met with the UN Secretary-General included Abbott Laboraties, which has been in the press for its controversial pricing of Norvir following the marketing of its newer drug, Kaletra.

Access to information is also an important factor in achieving these goals, and China is recognising the significance of data-sharing in disease control. An international team of researchers investigating HIV infections in southern China has been granted full access to government medical data, as reported in Nature. This transparency is advocated as part of China's overall strategy to reach its goal of limiting total infections to 1.5million by 2010.

No comments: