UNAIDS calls for new deal between pharmaceutical companies and society

With poor access to HIV treatments common in developing countries, Dr Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), has called for greater efforts in improving access, including greater cooperation between the pharmaceutical industry and the rest of society.

“The combined need for continuing innovation and the moral demands for global access to life-prolonging HIV medicines calls for nothing less than a new deal between the pharmaceutical industry and society,” said Dr Piot in a UNAIDS statement. The agency suggests that multiple innovative strategies are needed, including tiered pricing, competition between suppliers to reduce prices, regional procurement, licensing agreements, use or reinforcement of health safeguards in trade agreements, and new funding mechanisms.

“Improving access to care and treatment is a complex challenge, requiring the involvement of all sectors, including governments, nongovernmental organizations, and both the research and development-based and generics pharmaceutical industries,” Dr Piot pointed out. “Improving access to the more technologically complex elements of care, such as treatment of opportunistic infections and antiretrovirals, acts as an entry point for improving access to broader elements of care and vice versa,” Dr Piot noted. “More drugs will catalyse better health care delivery systems. Better health care delivery systems will promote greater capacity to deliver affordable medical technology.”

Source: Reuters Health

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