Irish Musician Bono’s Product RED Raises $10M in U.K., Global Fund Director Feachem SaysProduct RED, a project created by Irish musician Bono and Bobby Shriver that that aims to raise money for the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by donating a portion of profits from a range of branded products, raised more than $10 million in the United Kingdom from February through September, according to Global Fund Director Richard Feachem, the New York Times reports (Story, New York Times, 10/4). American Express, Converse, Giorgio Armani and Gap were the initial partners in the program -- which was launched in January -- and are distributing credit cards and selling tennis shoes, sunglasses and T-shirts, respectively, carrying the Product RED label. The four partner companies have committed to the brand for five years and have pledged to give an average of 40% of profits from the products to the Global Fund. London's Independent in May announced that it would become the first media outlet to sign on as a partner in the project. In addition, Motorola in May announced that it will partner with Product RED (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/16). Product RED products will be available in U.S. stores this month, the Times reports. "RED is one of the first major efforts to tap more Americans to contribute to fighting AIDS a continent away," Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said, adding, "I wasn't sure they would get enough companies on board to make RED a viable entity, and whether it could generate enough revenue for the global fund to make it worthwhile. I was pleasantly surprised on both counts." According Feachem, the amount Product RED has raised so far is twice the amount the Global Fund received from companies and individuals from 2002 through 2006. "RED is intrinsically sustainable because RED is good for the companies," Feachem said. According to Tommy Thompson, former HHS secretary and honorary chair of the Global Fund, "The reason the private sector's got to be involved is there's just not enough money coming in from the government. This is a huge thing and the demand and the need is so great that we just don't have enough money coming in from the governments to do it."
The funds generated from U.K. sales will be allocated to HIV testing and treatment services for HIV-positive women and children living in Rwanda and to supporting AIDS orphans in Swaziland, Feachem said (New York Times, 10/4). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.