Africa Should Manufacture Generic HIV/AIDS Drugs, UNAIDS Head Sidibe Says
Africa should produce its own generic antiretroviral drugs in order to fight HIV/AIDS and ensure that the global financial crisis does not hinder treatment access, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe said on Wednesday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Reuters reports. "We should facilitate a discussion around how we can build a business case for producing generic drugs in Africa so that it can increase coverage but can, at the same time, be a profitable business," he said, adding, "It's important politically, it's important economically, it's important for the integration of Africa in the global market."
According to Sidibe, increased production of generic drugs in Africa needs to occur soon because most people living with HIV on the continent do not have drug access. He said that during his tenure as UNAIDS executive director, he will focus on ensuring universal drug access worldwide. Sidibe added that the current economic situation could hinder this goal. "Governments need to start anticipating minimum spending on social services so we don't have a breakdown in our respective systems," he said, adding, "My worry about the crisis is that if we are not careful, we could face a breakdown in our caring society" (Malone, Reuters, 4/22).