Drug Companies Plan To Invest in HIV/AIDS Drug Development, Improve Access, U.N. Secretary-General Says
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday said that many large pharmaceutical companies -- including Abbott Labs, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer -- plan to increase their efforts to develop HIV/AIDS drugs and diagnostics for impoverished regions, Reuters reports. The companies have promised to invest more in prevention efforts -- including vaccine development and pre- and post-exposure prophylactics -- Ban said in a statement after he met with senior pharmaceutical executives from 17 companies and other U.N. officials. "We noted that despite the gains, the epidemic continues to outstrip our best efforts," Ban said, adding, "Only one-third of those who need antiretroviral treatment in low- and middle-income countries are getting it. Each day, for every two people who are placed on antiretroviral treatment, five more are infected. Collectively, we still have more work to do."
The companies also agreed to work toward adapting medicines and treatment for "resource-limited settings to be used safely in children, adolescents, adults and pregnant women," according to Ban. He added that the drug companies and the United Nations jointly agreed that increasing access to vaccines and medicines is "essential in scaling up prevention and treatment efforts" (Charbonneau, Reuters, 10/9).