Pfizer, Ethiopian Government Partner To Provide Drugs to HIV/AIDS Patients
Pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the Ethiopian government on Friday signed an agreement to provide medicines to fight AIDS-related diseases at no cost to HIV-positive people in the country, the SAPA/AFP/Mail & Guardian reports. Under the agreement, Pfizer will provide 50,000 doses of its antifungal drug Diflucan to treat cryptococcus meningitis and esophageal cadidiasis infections, which are common among AIDS patients in Ethiopia. The drugs will be distributed by the government through 16 selected public hospitals that provide care to HIV/AIDS patients, Ethiopian Health Ministry official Alemayehu Seifu said. "The program will also open an opportunity to move forward and step up public-private sector partnership in response to one of the daunting public health problems in Ethiopia," he added. Konji Sebati, medical director of Pfizer's philanthropy department, said, "Pfizer believes that partnership with governments is not only a business imperative but also a moral obligation. ... [W]e need to share our innovations with the communities we serve, every day, to make the people's lives better" (SAPA/AFP/Mail & Guardian, 4/16). The Ethiopian health ministry in October 2003 announced it would be begin providing antiretroviral drugs at no cost to poor HIV-positive people in the country. Up to 2.2 million of the country's 70 million people are HIV-positive (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/29/03).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.