Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
FHI To Seek Financial Support From Gates Foundation for Viread Trials
Family Health International on Friday is expected to seek support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to begin trials in Malawi or South Africa for Gilead's antiretroviral drug Viread, the Financial Times reports (Jack, Financial Times, 8/4). The foundation last year awarded a $6.5 million grant to FHI to conduct a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial of Viread, known generically as tenofovir, to determine its effectiveness in preventing HIV transmission. The trials included 2,000 HIV-negative volunteers at sites in several African and Asian countries. However, FHI in March cancelled the Nigerian arm of the trial because of a failure of local researchers to reach necessary scientific standards (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/16). Cameroon's Ministry of Health last week also canceled its arm of the trial after concerns that HIV-negative participants who contracted the virus during the study would not be guaranteed treatment. Similar problems, including concerns that sufficient prevention methods were not being provided, also have occurred in the Cambodia and Thailand trials. In addition, concerns have been raised over a trial that was expected to begin next month in Malawi. Health officials in the country have said that the high salaries offered to local medical staff to conduct the trials are draining Malawi's already strained health system (Financial Times, 8/4).
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