U.S. HIV Patients, Not-for-Profit Groups Donate Unused Antiretroviral Drugs to Patients in Developing Countries

Some HIV-positive people in the United States are donating unused antiretroviral drugs to people living with the disease in developing countries to help "piece together" their treatment regimens, the AP/New York Times reports. Some HIV-positive Americans donate their medicines after they change treatments or during doctor-recommended "drug holidays," according to the AP/Times. In addition, some friends and family members of people who have died from AIDS-related illnesses donate unused drugs. Although providing unused medicines to individuals in the United States is against federal law, medicines may be donated to a designated not-for-profit group for distribution to other countries as humanitarian aid, according to the AP/Times. Groups such as Aid for AIDS match U.S. patients who are willing to donate their unused medications to people living with HIV/AIDS in developing countries. Aid for AIDS distributes "recycled" medications to 350 patients in 16 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East. George Fesser, Aid for AIDS' director of recycling, said, "Donations from 20 to 30 people can provide one year's worth of medicine for one patient," adding, "Relying on leftover medication, we don't have a consistent stream. We have little trickles, and it's up to us to create the proper drug regimens for the proper patient" (AP/New York Times, 6/12).

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