News / Africa

    Cheaper Drugs Allow Better Treatment of HIV/AIDS Patients

    U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby, M.D. (Brookings)U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby, M.D. (Brookings)
    x
    U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby, M.D. (Brookings)
    U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby, M.D. (Brookings)
    Joe DeCapua
    PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, is responsible for getting millions of people on treatment. But researchers say it was not until the program started using cheaper generic drugs that great strides were made against the epidemic.

    PEPFAR is considered one of the hallmarks of President George W. Bush’s time in office. Its goal was to transform HIV/AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable chronic disease. And for millions of people around the world, that’s now the case as the program continues under President Obama.



    However, Dr. Kartik Venkatesh said when PEPFAR began it was hampered by the high cost of brand name antiretroviral drugs.

    “Early on, PEPFAR wasn’t able to reach nearly as many individuals because if the proprietary versions of these drugs were going to be used, simply, with the limited budget only so many could be reached. However, [in] the real success of PEPFAR, a significant factor has been the procurement and use of generic drugs,” he said.

    Venkatesh is the lead author of a study by Brown University researchers on the success of PEPFAR.

    He said, “The question was if we’re providing patented drugs to American patients, we should be providing the same drugs internationally to HIV-infected patients because it’s U.S. taxpayer dollars. One could say there were multiple reasons why that was the case. Certainly some would also speculate that the pharmaceutical industry did have a vested interest perhaps. But in the end it was a matter of that these generic drugs were known to work.”

    And they were known to work about the time PEPFAR was launched in 2003. Using generics dropped PEPFAR’s cost of treating a person from about $1,100 per year to about $300 in 2005.

    “Both the U.S. government and American taxpayers are getting more bang for their buck. And [for] a lot of developing countries, that certainly means more money gets to be spent on other healthcare services, other than just putting money into treatment and drugs,” said Venkatesh.

    PEPFAR has also been able to save millions of dollars by reducing transport costs – using ships instead of planes to deliver the drugs.

    The PEPFAR model, said Venkatesh, could also be applied to other diseases as developing countries begin seeing what had been mostly rich nation diseases.

    “There is a move towards understanding that the real and perhaps potentially larger burden in the future is also going to be chronic diseases like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer. And those are also diseases that require chronic, long-term medication. A lot can be learned from the experience about accessing generics for the treatment of HIV,” he said.

    The Brown University study recommended that a regulatory framework be in place for the “efficient and transparent procurement of generic drugs.” This would include the U.S. government, the Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization and generic drug manufacturers.

    You May Like

    Video For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    100 immigrants graduated Friday as US citizens in New York, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in cities across country

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora