Companies vow HIV drug availability for Africa

July 1, 2000

Pharmaceutical Representative

The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS known as UNAIDS announced that five pharmaceutical companies and United Nations organizations are exploring ways to accelerate and improve the provision of HIV/AIDS-related care and treatment in developing countries.

The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS known as UNAIDS announced that five pharmaceutical companies and United Nations organizations are exploring ways to accelerate and improve the provision of HIV/AIDS-related care and treatment in developing countries.

The pharmaceutical companies involved - Boehringer Ingelheim Corp., Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Glaxo Wellcome Inc., Merck & Co. Inc. and Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. - have indicated their willingness to find ways to broaden access to care and treatment, while ensuring rational, affordable, safe and effective use of drugs for HIV/AIDS-related illnesses. The companies are individually offering to significantly improve access to, and availability of, a range of medicines.

The participants have adopted a set of principles that reflect a common vision of how the HIV/AIDS epidemic can be more effectively tackled in developing countries: unequivocal and ongoing political commitment by national governments; strengthened national capacity; engagement of all sectors of national society and the global community; efficient, reliable and secure distribution systems; significant additional funding from national and international sources; and continued investment in research and development by the pharmaceutical industry.

"This is a promising step in a long-term process, and an opportunity for committed governments, donors, NGOs, people living with HIV/AIDS and private industry to enter into discussion to scale up access to care in ways that respond to the specific needs and requests of individual countries," said Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS.

Private sector involvement

"This global program represents a real turning point in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the developing world," said Prof. Dr. Rolf Krebs, vice chairman of the board of managing directors at Boehringer Ingelheim Corp., Ridgefield, CT. "This is the first time that both the public and private sector are joining forces to implement a major change in the care of HIV/AIDS in the developing world."

Specifically, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., New York, is making a commitment to expand access to its antiretroviral medicines, Videx® (didanosine) and Zerit® (stavudine) for the treatment of HIV/AIDS; Megace® (megestrol acetate) Oral Suspension for the treatment of AIDS-related cachexia; and oral Fungizone® (Amphoterecin B) for the treatment of fungal infections and Boehringer Ingelheim is making its anti-HIV drug Viramune® (nevirapine) available.

"The mission of Bristol-Myers-Squibb is to extend and enhance human life, and our participation in this unique public/private effort allows us to fulfill that mission." explained Kenneth E. Weg, vice chairman of Bristol-Myers Squibb. "This partnership creates a foundation to build upon and sends a message of hope to the people in the developing countries who are affected by HIV and AIDS." PR

Related Content:

News