Laura Bush Announces Global Partnership To Speed Development of Affordable Pediatric ARVs
First lady Laura Bush on Monday announced a new public-private partnership in which the U.S. government, drug companies and international agencies will collaborate to accelerate the availability of drugs suitable for HIV-positive children, VOA News reports. Currently, many antiretroviral drugs are not suitable for children or are expensive, according to VOA News (De Capua, VOA News, 3/13). Forty percent of HIV-positive children die before reaching age 18 months if they do not receive proper diagnosis and treatment. The partnership -- which includes the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, UNAIDS, UNICEF and several brand-name and generic drug manufacturers -- aims to take "practical steps to address key barriers" to pediatric treatment and "develo[p] systems ... to facilitate rapid regulatory review, approval, manufacturing and availability of pediatric [antiretroviral] formulations" (Global AIDS Alliance release, 3/13). The groups plan to meet on April 19 after which they will develop a budget, according to federal officials (Pickler, AP/Yahoo! News, 3/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.