Global Fund to Encourage Developing Nations to Purchase Generic Drugs
Richard Feachem, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, yesterday announced that the fund will begin "encourag[ing]" developing nations to purchase less-expensive generic medications instead of brand-name treatments, the New York Times reports. Under the new plan, applicants would be required to do the following things in order to receive a grant: purchase the lowest-cost drug available, buy only drugs in which quality is guaranteed and comply with international and national laws. Any drug on the World Health Organization's new list of approved drugs and drug makers, which contains generic drugs from companies such as Indian manufacturer Cipla, would be eligible for use by grant recipients.
In a "surprising endorsement," representatives from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America yesterday said that they support the fund's decision. "We believe strongly that there is room for bona fide generics as long as they are of high quality," PhRMA spokesperson Shannon Herzfeld said. William Haddad, a generic drug maker, called the decision a "big victory," saying the competition will help small countries that have been hesitant to import generic drugs out of fear that the United States would "punish them" economically. An unidentified senior state department official said that the United States supports the "right of poor countries" to purchase generic drugs with fund money, "as long as they aren't deprived of the opportunity of choosing brand names" (McNeil, New York Times, 10/16).