Generic AIDS Drug Use in Nigeria, India May Reveal Treatment’s Feasibility
Generic antiretroviral drugs will soon "face several key field tests" in Africa and India, where new treatment programs "will provide the first clues about how helpful the cheaper drugs will be in making inroads against AIDS in countries that have been hardest hit," the Wall Street Journal reports. Nigerian officials this week announced a plan to treat 15,000 HIV-positive citizens with government-subsidized generic drugs manufactured by the Indian drug manufacturer Cipla Ltd. As a nation that "wields tremendous influence on the continent," Nigeria's move is "likely to encourage other African countries to follow suit," the Journal says. A smaller community-based project in India organized by the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Association will treat 400 patients, half of whom are migrant workers living in remote desert villages. In addition, Kenya recently passed a law "opening the door" to producing generic AIDS drugs. Cipla, whose "low pricing was a catalyst for the burst of activity surrounding generic AIDS drugs," says that at least 20 countries have either bought or plan to buy its generic AIDS medications. But administrators of the Nigerian and Indian treatment programs acknowledge that even with cheap medicines, challenges in treating HIV-positive individuals remain, such as getting patients to comply with complicated pill-taking regimens to reduce the risk of drug-resistant HIV development (Pesta/Schoofs, Wall Street Journal, 8/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.