U.K. Development, Pharmaceutical Company Officials To Discuss Pediatric HIV/AIDS Medicines
Officials from the U.K. Department for International Development are organizing talks with pharmaceutical company representatives to address the low number of affordable and safe drugs designed to treat children living with HIV/AIDS in developing countries or prevent them from contracting the virus, the Financial Times reports. Drug makers for many years have been motivated to develop adult HIV/AIDS medications by the high prices they can charge in wealthy nations, according to the Times. However, they have little incentive to adapt the drugs for HIV-positive children, most of whom live in resource-poor countries, the Times reports. According to estimates from international organizations, 2.3 million children under the age of 15 are living with HIV/AIDS, and less than 5% of those in need of treatment are receiving it. Although there are several pediatric HIV/AIDS medications available as syrups, they often are difficult to administer, have a short shelf life and can cost several times the amount of adult formulations, according to the Times. Some HIV/AIDS specialists have called for the development of pediatric drugs in tablet form. DFID officials are expected to call on pharmaceutical companies to allocate increased funds for clinical trials of pediatric drugs and guarantee that they will be made available in developing countries at affordable prices (Jack, Financial Times, 2/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.