Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Vietnam Official Says Country Will Produce Generic AIDS Drugs After Settling Copyright Issues
Vietnam will begin producing generic copies of patented AIDS drugs as soon as it "settle[s] the issue of copyrights," according to an unnamed official with the Anti-AIDS Permanent Office, the AP/Modesto Bee reports. The plan, which also includes the development of "traditional herbal medicines" to boost the immune systems of people with HIV/AIDS, will be submitted for approval in May to the prime minister (AP/Modesto Bee, 2/1). The World Trade Organizationstated last November that members can manufacture generic drugs without penalty in the event of a national health emergency. Vietnam currently is determining how to tackle the "legal issues related to the acquisition of the copyright[s]" from the patent-holding companies, Professor Chung A of the National Committee on AIDS Prevention said. Although drug companies have reduced prices to as little as $350 per patient per year in Africa, Vietnam still pays between $8,000 and $12,000 per person per year, an "impossible sum" for the government, Agence France-Presse reports. About 42,000 people have tested positive for HIV, but as many as 150,000 Vietnamese may have the virus, Chung said (Agence France-Presse, 2/1).
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