By 2031 developing countries could need an estimated $35 billion to fight HIV/AIDS â€“ three times the amount currently spent, according to a Health Affairs study published Tuesday, the New York Times reports. The analysis â€“ based on economic models that assumed condoms, drugs and circumcision would be widespread – found that “even under the best case … more than one million people would be newly infected each year.
Access to Health Services
During a press conference on Thursday, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) warned that the “global economic crisis and calls to commit funds to other health crises” threatened to undermine recent gains in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the Associated Press reports. MSF “says money for other health issues should be given in addition to money for [HIV/]AIDS” (11/5).
“As the London family planning summit looms closer, the debate begins over how much money is needed, what it should pay for and whether the fundamentally important issues of women’s reproductive rights will be addressed,” Sarah Boseley, health editor of the Guardian, writes in her “Global Health Blog.” Highlighting a new report from the Guttmacher Institute, which “assesses the scale of the unmet need for contraception,” she writes, “This report puts numbers and dollars into the frame ahead of the summit where the [Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation], [Department for International Development (DfID)], and others will be hoping big fat money pledges will be made, in the same way that the vaccines summit in London attracted massive donations — more money was raised than was hoped for.”
“A new UNAIDS/UNDP joint issues brief [.pdf] highlights the potential impacts of free trade agreements on public health,” UNAIDS reports in a feature story on its website. “The brief concludes that ‘to retain the benefits of [flexibilities in the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)], countries at a minimum should avoid entering into free trade agreements that contain obligations that can impact on pharmaceutical price or availability,’” the article states. It adds that “the potential impact of a number of current or planned free trade agreement negotiations taking place across the world — particularly affecting countries in the Asia and the Pacific region — can hinder countries’ rights to implement such flexibilities” (6/1).
The Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday theme for this week is mHealth, an e-mail alert from USAID reports. “While health effects typically take hold first in the richest parts of society then trickle down, mobile technology gives everyone access to the same information at the same time, so they can use…
“Around the world, frontline health workers are often the first link to lifesaving care and supplies, and in some cases they are the only link for families and communities in rural and impoverished areas,” Oying Rimon, a senior program officer in family health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,…
Growing Number Of Countries Adopting Flexible IP Regulations After India Issues Country's First Compulsory License
“A growing number of countries are adopting India’s intellectual property regulations, which give enough flexibility to local companies to produce generic versions of popular drugs to safeguard public health,” India’s Economic Times reports, noting, “In March, India issued the country’s first compulsory license, allowing [Natco Pharma] to legally manufacture and sell a low-cost version of German drugmaker Bayer AG’s patented cancer drug, Nexavar, at 3 percent of the original medicine’s price on the grounds that Bayer’s drug was not meeting public health requirement.” The news service writes, “Although multinational companies have criticized India for being lax in enforcing intellectual property (IP) laws, countries such as China, Argentina, and the Philippines are adopting similar provisions.”
Noting that “[n]on-communicable diseases (NCDs) kill four times the number of people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) that they do in high-income countries,” Benn Grover, a health communications specialist who manages policy for the National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, and Felicia Knaul, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and director of the Harvard Global Equity Initiative, write in the Huffington Post Blog, “The right to health of the majority of the world’s inhabitants is severely hampered due to vast inequalities in access to care and many of the social rights that determine their health. These inequalities are not just a matter of health, but issues of social justice and human rights.”
The Affordable Medicines Facility-malaria (AMFm) — an innovative financing mechanism that subsidizes the cost of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) in order to expand access to the most effective treatment for malaria — “brought more than 100 million doses of malaria drugs to clinics and pharmacies in 2011” and “also increased access to the top malaria medicines by 26 to 52 percent in six countries,” according to results from the first phase of the program, which is hosted and managed by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, NPR’s “Shots” blog reports. The results of the evaluation, released on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., do not estimate how many lives were saved because of improved access to effective malaria medications, as “AMFm ran for only a year and half in most countries,” according to the blog. “The AMFm negotiated with drugmakers to reduce ACTs prices, and then the Global Fund subsidized the initial purchasing of the drugs by clinics and pharmacies,” the blog notes.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog continues its series, published in partnership with Women Deliver, to recognize World Contraception Day, observed annually on September 26. The following pieces were published recently: