Access to HIV Drugs

by Sharon White - Date: 2007-01-26 - Word Count: 275 Share This!

The option of generics would mitigate this effect considerably but most African countries are afraid of taking steps to benefit from this because of the large pharmaceutical companies' attitude, which has been evident in some incidents in the past. Other factors such as poverty, lack of government commitment and poor medical care and infrastructure and not the presence of patents is responsible for the access problem. Patents are not to blame for lack of access to ARV drugs in Africa because most of the drugs were not patented there and that it is doubtful whether patentibility would serve as much of an incentive for pharmaceutical R&D in poorer countries because there just was not enough market in Africa.

New drugs for the virus come up everyday and especially with the problem of drug resistance, it is important that the effected in Africa have access to these new drugs. The pharmaceutical industry and their supporting academics have claimed that the old patented drugs have been declared as effective especially as they are included in WHO's List of Essential Drugs. Most African countries do not have the resources to manufacture ARV drugs locally. They have to depend on imports from other countries that can. A country can only manufacture a product if they hold the patent or if they manufacture generic versions by acquiring a compulsory license. As was pointed out in the paper discussed above, patent application and protection are expensive.

South Africa is one of the few African countries that have the technological capacity to manufacture generic drugs. It is no wonder then, that of the 15 drugs that were studied, 13 were patented in South Africa.

Related Tags: aids, patent, hiv, pharmaceutical, drug

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