Britain to Donate £75 million to global AIDS fund

The United Kingdom has announced that it will contribute 75 million pounds – about $100 million – to the U.N.’s global fund to fight HIV/AIDS in the developing world, the Guardian reports.

Britain’s contribution is smaller than the United States’ $200 million allocation, but it represents a greater proportion of the country’s gross domestic product than the funding proposed by the Bush administration.

However, since international contributions to the fund thus far have been “pitiful” – only Britain and the United States have pledged money – the U.K. contribution “will not swell Kofi Annan’s coffers,” the Guardian reports (Boseley, Guardian, 31/05).

UK seeks contributions from drug firms

Gordon Brown, Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer, and Clare Short, secretary for international development, are calling on pharmaceutical companies to deliver anti-AIDS drugs “at bargain basement prices” to developing countries, the Guardian reports. Brown, who agreed to provide the firms with tax breaks for research and development of cheap drugs for developing nations, has held “private talks” with the drug companies concerning other efforts to provide less costly medicines to poor countries. Brown said, “It’s time for the pharmaceutical companies to do more.

The evidence is that the drug companies can do more. … We call on the pharmaceutical industry to step up their responsibilities to recognize the scale of the challenge we face.” Although offers of cheap drugs from major pharmaceutical companies did not come often in the past, Brown and Short said that “the mood has changed” since the drug firms withdrew their case against a South African law permitting generic drug importation and manufacturing last month (White/Elliott, Guardian, 31/05).

Source: Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Reports

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