Singapore AIDS Group Asks Government to Provide Subsidies for AIDS Medicines
The Singapore AIDS group Action for AIDS yesterday called on the Singapore government to provide funding for AIDS drugs, Reuters/Contra Costa Times reports (Reuters/Contra Costa Times, 11/26). Hospital costs and "basic" medication for HIV/AIDS patients at Singapore's Communicable Diseases Center are funded by a government grant for the "poverty-stricken," but the government does not offer subsidies for AIDS drugs because it classifies the drugs as "non-standard" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/20). The government says that it does not provide subsidies for antiretroviral drugs because HIV is incurable and the money can be "better spent on other health programs." The average cost of antiretroviral treatment in Singapore is between $656 and $820 per month per person, but AFA Secretary Brenton Wong said that less than 10% of HIV-positive Singaporeans can afford the medicines. "Singapore is considered third world as far as HIV is concerned," Wong said. In the first 10 months of 2001, 185 Singaporeans were diagnosed with HIV, bringing the total number of HIV-positive Singaporeans to 1,547 (Reuters/Contra Costa Times, 11/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.