PBS’ ‘NewsHour’ Examines Success of Brazil’s Efforts To Fight HIV/AIDS
In the first of a two-part series, PBS' "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" yesterday examined the success of Brazil's efforts to fight HIV/AIDS (Dentzer, "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," PBS, 7/15). Over the past eight years, Brazil has reduced its number of AIDS-related deaths by 50% due to the country's focus on prevention and its distribution of free antiretroviral drugs. Dr. Jong Wook Lee, the newly elected director general of the World Health Organization, has appointed Paulo Teixeira, head of Brazil's HIV/AIDS program, to formulate WHO's AIDS strategy. During the past three years, 31 countries have adopted Brazil's prevention and treatment guidelines (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/14). The PBS segment examines the government's reasoning for producing generic versions of antiretroviral drugs and issuing global pharmaceutical companies an "ultimatum" to negotiate "deeply discounted prices." Brazil's pressure on pharmaceutical companies "helped to spur global momentum for price cuts" on HIV/AIDS medications, according to PBS. Brazil has prevented an estimated 90,000 AIDS-related deaths and produced savings from lower hospital costs and other treatments by providing antiretroviral drugs -- which are tracked through a nationwide computer system linking clinics and pharmacies nationwide -- to an estimated 130,000 Brazilians. "We estimate in five years about $2.2 billion saved only in direct consequence of this strategy," Teixeira said. The segment also includes comments from Dr. Humberto Costa, Brazil's health minister; Jorge Lima de Magalhaes, production manager at the pharmaceutical division of Fiocruz, a government-sponsored health agency; and Cristina Pimenta, executive director of ABIA, a Brazilian non-governmental organization fighting HIV/AIDS ("NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," PBS, 7/15). The full transcript of the segment is available online.
The full segment is available online in RealPlayer. Expanded PBS coverage of Brazil's fight against HIV/AIDS is also available online.
A kaisernetwork.org HealthCast interview with Teixeira is available online. Teixeira talks about Brazil's prevention and treatment strategies, a recent World Bank meeting on resistance to HIV/AIDS drugs and his work helping WHO develop an AIDS strategy.
Additional information on AIDS in Brazil is available online through kaisernetwork.org's Issue Spotlight on AIDS.