Clinton Calls for Global Effort For HIV Vaccine
Speaking at Great Britain's Warwick University in what may be his last major address on foreign policy, President Clinton said yesterday that the United States, Great Britain and other affluent nations must help fund the pharmaceutical industry in its quest to develop and distribute vaccines for infectious diseases such as HIV, the Los Angeles Times reports. Speaking on a global agenda for the 21st century, Clinton described a "huge need" for an HIV vaccine, particularly "among people who have no money to pay for it," and called for "a crusade to close the financial and health gap between the rich and poor of the world." Although the United States and Great Britain have contributed money for vaccine development, Clinton said, "The difference between what the world provides and what the world needs for treatment and prevention of AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis is $6 billion a year," with the United States providing an "appropriate share" of $1.5 billion. Because many drug makers do not forsee substantial profit from heavy investments in HIV vaccines if "their best customers are impoverished nations," the United States has "boosted" its spending for AIDS research and for vaccine purchases "so that companies know there will be a guaranteed market" for HIV treatments, he said. A tax credit to help develop future vaccines is also offered. "Already in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe, half of all 15-year olds are expected to die of AIDS. In just a few years, there will be three to six African countries where there will be more people in their 60s than in their 30s. This is a staggering human cost," Clinton said. Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have discussed AIDS as an "obstacle to successful globalization," agreeing that the benefits of free trade and technology cannot reach all people if they do not first have basic health care and education (Rosenblatt, Los Angeles Times, 12/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.