Big pharma pledges AIDS funding10th October 2008
Big pharma has said it will invest more in research and development for new treatments for people living with HIV/AIDS, according to the United Nations.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said major pharmaceutical firms promised to invest more in researching treatments and diagnostic procedures for the world's poorer countries.
They had also pledged more funding for prevention, which would include vaccines and prophylactic measures applied both before and after exposure to the HIV virus, he said.
In a statement issued after a meeting with top executives at pharmaceutical and diagnostic firms working on AIDS and HIV, Ban said that despite the gains, the epidemic continued to outstrip the best efforts of public health policy-makers.
Only one-third of those who need antiretroviral treatment in low-and middle-income countries are getting it. And for every two people who begin antiretroviral therapy daily around the world, five more are diagnosed with new infections.
Ban, who together with other top UN officials, met senior executives from 17 companies, including Abbott Labs, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and other top industry players, said the world still had more work to do.
He said everyone present at the meeting had agreed that better access to vaccines, diagnostics and medicines was essential in scaling up prevention and treatment efforts.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Bank are already collaborating on a new international health initiative to combat HIV/AIDS, launching a new package of priority interventions for the disease and related social problems in August.
Rather than investing new funds into HIV treatment and prevention, the WHO-World Bank collaboration will examine and combine the strengths of different approaches around the world in order to get better results from existing investments.
One of the UN millennium development goals aimed at halving poverty by 2015 is to achieve universal access for HIV and AIDS treatment by 2010.
Some 33 million people were living with immunodeficiency virus infections in 2007, most of them in Africa, according to the latest UN reports on the AIDS epidemic. The disease has killed an estimated 25 million people since it was identified in the 1980s.
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Title: Big pharma pledges AIDS funding
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 8709
Date Added: 10th Oct 2008