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India's Aurobindo Pharma First Major Generic Drugmaker To Join UNITAID's Medicines Patent Pool

“India’s Aurobindo Pharma has become the first major generic drugmaker to join” the Medicines Patent Pool, launched by the UNITAID health financing system and “designed to make HIV/AIDS treatments more widely available to the poor,” Reuters reports. “The Medicines Patent Pool said on Tuesday the agreement would allow Aurobindo to make a range of AIDS drugs licensed to the pool by Gilead Sciences, the leading maker of HIV drugs, in July,” according to the news service. “Aurobindo has also elected to take advantage of a key provision in the pool’s licenses in order to sell one drug, tenofovir, to a wide range of countries without paying royalties,” Reuters writes, adding, “These could include several middle-income countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Ukraine and Uruguay” (Hirschler, 10/11).

Preliminary Analysis Suggests HIV/AIDS Prevention Program In India May Have Prevented Some 100,000 Infections

A $258 million HIV/AIDS prevention program in six Indian states may have prevented an estimated 100,000 infections from 2003 to 2008, researchers from the Public Health Foundation of India and the University of Washington suggest in a study published in the Lancet on Tuesday, the Associated Press/Washington Post reports (10/10). The analysis “concluded that infections dropped significantly in three populous southern states, a little in Tamil Nadu, and not at all in northern Manipur and Nagaland,” the New York Times reports (McNeil, 10/10). “While the initial findings regarding the … Avahan project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, come with large uncertainty due to data limitations and methodology, the study’s authors say … that investing in prevention can make a dent in one of the world’s largest epidemics,” AP writes (10/10). Tactics used in the program, which targeted high-risk groups, “included one-on-one safe-sex counseling, free condoms, exchanging used needles for sterilized ones, clinics to treat sexually-transmitted disease and advocacy work within the community,” Agence France-Press reports (10/10).

96% Campaign Asks Obama To 'Pay Attention To Science' And Scale Up Global Access To ARVs

In this RH Reality Check opinion piece, Matthew Kavanagh, director of U.S. advocacy at Health GAP (Global Access Project), and Dazon Dixon Diallo, founder and president of SisterLove, Incorporated, write, “With proof that treatment is prevention, and with this basket of broader prevention options, scientists and economists have finally been able to show what few could before: models of how we end the AIDS crisis.”

DfID's Reduction In Bilateral AIDS Spending May Increase Need For Funding Later

In a letter to the Guardian in response to the news that the U.K. Department for International Development (DfID) plans to cut bilateral aid for HIV/AIDS by nearly one-third, Nathan Ford, medical coordinator for Medecins Sans Frontieres, writes that the agency’s decision “comes at a critical moment,” after “[v]arious studies published in the past year have shown widespread access to treatment and prevention can dramatically cut HIV/AIDS transmission, and allow for consideration of an end to the epidemic.”

Huffington Post Profiles UNITAID Chair

The Huffington Post profiles Philippe Douste-Blazy, U.N. under-secretary-general of Innovative Financing for Development and chair of UNITAID, a financing mechanism he conceived in 2004 to help provide medicines for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria in developing countries. The article discusses Douste-Blazy’s work and background, UNITAID, and other innovative financing schemes (Lines, 10/6).

Cuts To U.S. Military's HIV Research Program Threaten HIV Vaccine Progress

Fred Sawe, deputy director of the Kenya Medical Research Institute/Walter Reed Project HIV Program in Kericho, Kenya, and Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention, report in Global Health Magazine that “[t]he Department of the Army is set to slash 73 percent of the U.S. Military HIV…

Experts Take Study On Contraceptive Use, HIV Risk Seriously But Warn About Drawing Conclusions Prematurely Because Of Study's 'Methodological Weaknesses'

In this post in RH Reality Check, Jodi Jacobson, editor-in-chief of the blog, responds to an article published in the New York Times on Tuesday regarding a study suggesting that “HIV-negative women using injectable contraception might face a two-fold risk of acquiring HIV from their infected partners, and that HIV-positive women using…

Keeping HIV Patients On ART Will Have Long-Term Economic Benefits, Study Shows

Investments to keep 3.5 million people living with HIV on antiretroviral drugs provided by programs co-financed through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria through 2020 will cost an estimated $14.2 billion, but “the financial savings would amount to between $12 billion and $34 billion,” according to a study published in the journal PLoS One, Sarah Boseley reports in her “Global Health Blog” in the Guardian (10/5).

Trans-Pacific Partnership Could Affect HIV/AIDS Drug Prices, Huffington Post Reports

The Huffington Post, as part of a collaboration on trade issues with the Dylan Ratigan Show, examines how “a new trade deal the Obama administration is pushing to complete with Vietnam and seven other Pacific nations threatens to seriously hinder both U.S. and international efforts to combat AIDS — including the government’s own efforts in Vietnam.” Under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, “U.S. negotiators are seeking to impose a set of restrictive intellectual property laws that would help American drug companies secure long-term monopolies overseas,” according to leaked documents, the Huffington Post writes.

PEPFAR ART Cost Model Data Presented To PEPFAR Scientific Advisory Board

“For every 1,000 patient-years of PEPFAR-supported HIV treatment provided, 228 fewer HIV patients die, 449 fewer children become orphans, 61 fewer sexual HIV transmissions occur and 26 fewer ‘vertical’ transmissions (e.g. mother-to-child) occur,” John Blanford of the CDC told the PEPFAR Scientific Advisory Board in Washington, D.C., on September 14,…