Latin American and Caribbean Nations To Negotiate ARV Prices Together
Nineteen Caribbean and Latin American nations plan to join together to negotiate a reduced price for antiretroviral drugs and will collaborate to produce the drugs if necessary, Brazil's official news agency said, the AP/11Alive.com reports (Azzoni, AP/11Alive.com, 1/14). Under the World Trade Organization's intellectual property agreement, governments can approve the domestic production of generic versions of patented drugs during emergency public health situations if they fail to reach an agreement with the patent holder. Pedro Chequer, head of Brazil's HIV/AIDS program, on Thursday told attendees at a Latin American conference in Brasilia, Brazil -- which was aimed at discussing strategies on providing access to treatments for HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases -- that countries unable to afford antiretroviral drugs should consider breaking foreign patents and producing the drugs (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/13). Chequer said the annual cost of treating a patient with antiretroviral drugs reached $2500 in 2004, $1150 more than in 2003 because of the high cost of medications (EFE News Service, 1/15). The final report from the conference will be presented in May at the United Nation's General Assembly, where the 19 nations will call on the international community to help defeat political and economic barriers to negotiations for antiretroviral drugs at a reduced price (AP/11Alive.com, 1/14).
Condom Production, Distribution
Chequer also said big laboratories must boost condom production, adding, "If everybody decided today to use condoms as they should according to scientific norms of preventing sexually transmitted diseases, there would not be enough" (EFE News Service, 1/15). Chequer at the conference voiced his support for countries that do not accept nonscientific opposition to condom usage, such as religious or philosophical debate (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/13). In addition to investment in the production of generic medicines and the availability of antiretroviral drugs at no cost, condom promotion is a critical part of Brazil's fight against HIV/AIDS (EFE News Service, 1/15).