Clinton Plan Balances Patent Protection, ‘Call to Meet Humanitarian Need,’ Editorial Says
The Clinton Foundation's plan to reduce the cost of antiretroviral treatment in African and Caribbean nations "represents boldness that has been all too rare" in the fight against AIDS, an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says. Instead, there has been "more talk about helping the poorest countries than ... tangible, supportive action to back up the talk," according to the editorial (Akron Beacon Journal, 10/27). The Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative last week announced the details of a plan to secure antiretroviral drugs from four generic drug manufacturers at discounted prices, which will reduce the cost of commonly used three-drug regimens to 38 cents per patient per day, down from the already discounted price of 55 cents per patient per day for such drugs. The plan seeks to provide antiretroviral drugs for up to two million people in Rwanda, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania and several Caribbean countries by 2008 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/24). Such drugs are "of the utmost importance" in the poorest countries, and it will "take scores more than four drugmakers to meet the demand," the editorial says. However, the initiative "demonstrates that it is possible to mediate the desire to protect patents and profits with the call to meet a humanitarian need," the editorial concludes (Akron Beacon Journal, 10/27).
NPR's "Tavis Smiley Show" on Friday featured an interview with former President Bill Clinton about the program, including funding sources, the timetable for implementation and the current lack of U.S. companies participating in the plan. Clinton announced that he will travel to India and China next month "to try to see what I can do to help them" (Smiley, "Tavis Smiley Show," NPR, 10/24). The full segment is available online in RealPlayer.