On behalf of IFARA, Fred Schaich spoke at this year's International AIDS Conference with Vivian Cox, M.D., about strengthening access to generic HIV medications and the price of antiretrovirals.
India, which has "strict patent laws that allow for robust generic competition," produces 60% to 70% of the HIV drugs used in countries that permit the importing of generics, Cox said, but is under pressure to change its practices. Middle-income countries are especially hard hit by the price of antiretrovirals because they do not qualify for funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, yet they cannot afford to buy the necessary medications on their own. Generics are not only important for providing medications to people who are already on antiretroviral therapy, but also to those who have not yet started treatment.
If South Africa, which has the largest HIV treatment program in the world, moves to a "test and treat" strategy, where everyone who tests positive for HIV receives antiretroviral therapy, it will need much larger quantities of HIV drugs. "You can't double the number of patients on treatment if you are paying a certain price that you can't afford," Cox pointed out.
The Médecins Sans Frontières Access Campaign has published a report, "Untangling the Web of Antiretroviral Price Reductions" that details the problems with exclusive patents and a lack of robust generic competition. The campaign is working with the World Health Organization and specific governments to protect access to generic medications.
Watch the video to learn more:
About the panelist:
Vivian Cox, M.D., Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)
The video above has been posted on TheBodyPRO.com with permission from our partners at the International Foundation for Alternative Research in AIDS (IFARA). Visit IFARA's website or YouTube channel to watch more video interviews from the conference, as well as earlier meetings.