Bush Administration ‘Deserves Credit’ in Fight Against AIDS But Should Support Generic AIDS Drugs, Editorial Says
Although the Bush administration "deserves credit" for energizing the fight against AIDS through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, not enough of the plan's funding is going to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the administration keeps "find[ing] excuses" to use expensive patented antiretroviral drugs for treatment, a Washington Post editorial says. The administration's attempts to use patented drugs is "tortuous," as generic drugs cost about a quarter as much as patented drugs and are easier to administer, the editorial says. Of the 40 million people living with HIV worldwide, six million are thought to be in urgent need of treatment, but only 400,000 people currently are receiving the medications, according to the Post. Therefore, it is "perverse" that the administration would use the more expensive drugs to treat fewer patients, the editorial says. If the administration is concerned that generic drugs may not be safe, it should "dispatch inspectors immediately to generics factories," the editorial says. "But instead, it is sponsoring a conference next week to discuss principles on which combination pills should be evaluated," the editorial says, concluding, "This seems like a digression" (Washington Post, 3/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.