Cost of AIDS Drugs Should Be Reduced, Medications Simplified in Developing Countries, Editorial Says
Providing less-expensive fixed-dose combination antiretroviral drugs to HIV-positive people in the developing world could "close th[e] dangerous gap" between the people who need treatment and the few who are receiving the drugs, a San Francisco Chronicle editorial says. In the "world of AIDS treatment," antiretroviral drugs can "hold the infection at bay," but treatment regimens are expensive and can be complicated, the editorial says. Pharmaceutical companies and the "politics behind" them can "do better" to improve this "dilemma," the editorial says. FDA's approval on Monday of the fixed-dose combination drugs Truvada and Epzicom and Indian generic drug maker Ranbaxy's development of a generic combination antiretroviral have eliminated the drug patents and safety concerns that previously "blocked" the availability of cheaper, combination drugs in developing countries -- including African and Asian countries where the pandemic is "raging" -- according to the Chronicle. HIV/AIDS drugs allow "adults to hold a job, children to attend school and families to stay together," the editorial says. However, only 400,000 of the six million people living with HIV/AIDS who could benefit from antiretrovirals receive them, according to the Chronicle (San Francisco Chronicle, 8/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.