NPR Programs Report on South African ‘Public Health Battle’ for AIDS DrugsNPR's "Talk of the Nation" reported yesterday on the South African "battle in which the high cost of drugs is in direct conflict with the need to save the lives of people with AIDS." Thousands of people this week attended a "major street demonstration" in Johannesburg to call attention to a nation where approximately 20% of adults are infected with HIV. International pharmaceutical companies are "being condemned by protest leaders as heartless profiteers who do not care about the tremendous loss of human life due to AIDS." This public pressure has brought two "key developments": Merck's announcement that it would cut the price of its anti-AIDS drugs sold in Africa and to developing countries and the current lawsuit brought by 39 international drug companies to stop South Africa from importing or manufacturing generic anti-AIDS drugs from independent pharmaceutical firms. To listen to the full report in RealAudio, enter http://search.npr.org/cf/cmn/cmnpd01fm.cfm?PrgDate=03/08/2001&PrgID=5 into your Web browser and scroll down to the "AIDS Drugs & Patent Laws" story (Williams, "Talk of the Nation," NPR, 3/8).
'Morning Edition' Discusses Merck
In addition, NPR's "Morning Edition" yesterday looked deeper into Merck's announcement that it will provide to developing countries its protease inhibitor Crixivan for $600 per patient per year, nearly half its price in the United States. To hear the full report in RealAudio, enter http://search.npr.org/cf/cmn/cmnpd01fm.cfm?PrgDate=03/08/2001&PrgID=3 into your browser and scroll down to the "AIDS Drugs and the Third World" story. Today's "Morning Edition" will feature a report on Senegal and the challenges the country is facing using discounted AIDS drugs (Edwards, "Morning Edition," NPR, 3/8).
'All Things Considered' Discusses Drug 'Price War'
Finally, NPR's "All Things Considered" yesterday reported that a "much needed shipment" of the antifungal medication Diflucan landed in South Africa just as "a price war seems to be breaking out" between makers of patented AIDS drugs and makers of generic versions. NPR's Brenda Wilson discussed the situation with host Robert Siegel. To listen to the full report in RealAudio, enter http://search.npr.org/cf/cmn/cmnpd01fm.cfm?PrgDate=03/08/2001&PrgID=2 into your browser and scroll down to the "AIDS Drug Offer" story (Siegel, "All Things Considered," NPR, 3/8).