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J&J Will Not Join Medicines Patent Pool; Company’s Pharma Head Says Mechanism Could ‘Cause Disaster’

Pharmaceutical company “Johnson & Johnson has rejected calls to offer patent rights on its HIV medicines to generic drug companies through a” Medicines Patent Pool, created to promote low-cost antiretroviral drugs in low-income countries and the development of new drug combinations and formulations, the Financial Times reports. “Paul Stoffels, worldwide head of pharmaceuticals at J&J, … cautioned that the pool could trigger a ‘mixing and matching’ of medicines that would cause a rapid surge in patient resistance to innovative HIV drugs” that could “cause a huge disaster,” according to the newspaper.

MSF Publishes List Of Top 10 Stories Of 2011 About Access To Medicine

This Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) special report highlights the top 10 stories of 2011 regarding access to essential medicines, according to MSF. The list includes the findings of the HPTN 052 clinical trial, which “show that providing people with HIV treatment early not only saves their lives but can reduce the risk…

Jenna Bush Hager Reports On Family Trip To Africa To Visit Health Programs On NBC’s Today Show

In this video clip from NBC’s Today show, contributing correspondent Jenna Bush Hager reports on a recent family trip to Africa to visit PEPFAR-funded programs and to announce a new initiative by the George W. Bush Institute to fight cervical cancer. In the video, the Bushes travel to Tanzania, where they visit a PEPFAR-funded program called Jipende!, which trains hairstylists as health educators in 70 salons throughout the country, and to Zambia, where they visit the Ocean Road Cancer Institute and discuss a new initiative for cervical cancer testing, treatment and vaccination (12/22).

Science Names HIV Treatment As Prevention Trial As ‘2011 Breakthrough Of The Year’

“The journal Science has chosen the HPTN 052 clinical trial, an international HIV prevention trial sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID),” which found that early treatment with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) reduced the risk of transmission among sero-discordant partners by 96 percent, as the “2011 Breakthrough of the Year,” an NIH press release states (12/22). “Given resource constraints and logistical hurdles, treatment as prevention isn’t going to sweep the world anytime soon,” Science writes, adding, “But HPTN 052 has made imaginations race about the what-ifs like never before, spotlighting the scientifically probable rather than the possible” (Cohen, 12/23).

Russia Will Not Use HIV Spending To Fund Needle Exchange, Methadone Therapy, Reuters Reports

Though Russia is doubling its budget for HIV in 2012 over 2010 levels, “no money will go to such internationally recognized efforts as needle exchanges” and methadone replacement therapy, Reuters reports. “Moscow doesn’t believe these approaches help slow the spread of HIV/AIDS,” and “[s]ome health workers and global HIV authorities are angered and baffled by Russia’s approach, which they say will only aggravate the problem,” the news service writes. The article examines how government spending for HIV will be used, with only three percent of about $600 million expected to go toward prevention programs in 2012, and how non-governmental organizations are coping with cuts in funding from international donor programs (Ferris-Rotman/Koppel, 12/21).

AVAC Report Outlines Science-Based Agenda For Ending AIDS Epidemic

AVAC’s annual report, titled “AVAC Report 2011: The End?,” “is intended as a vision and a challenge to the field, and a first step in holding all of us — civil society, researchers, governments, and funders — accountable for progress” toward ending AIDS, according to the AVAC website (12/22). In the report, “the advocacy…

PBS NewsHour Examines Role Of Religious Leaders In Morocco’s Fight Against HIV/AIDS

In this post in PBS NewsHour’s “The Rundown” blog, journalist Ray Suarez reports on the role of religious leaders in Morocco’s battle against HIV/AIDS and stigma. Suarez examines social and cultural factors influencing HIV/AIDS prevention programming in Morocco, speaks with HIV/AIDS activists in the country, and highlights an HIV educational program that utilizes Muslim imams to spread HIV prevention messages. He concludes, “In many ways the country is on the road to a successful response to AIDS. There are still thousands of new infections annually in this country of more than 30 million, guaranteeing the response to HIV must stretch for decades into the future” (12/21). The article is accompanied by a video report (Suarez, 12/21).

Examining The Proposed Federal Global Health Appropriations

In this post on the Center for Global Development’s (CGD) “Global Health Policy” blog, Denizhan Duran and Amanda Glassman of CGD review the proposed FY12 federal global health appropriation approved recently by Congress. They state that “this year’s budget is a missed opportunity in a period defined by budget pressures: global…

Global Fund Board Must ‘Sound Alarm’ To Renew Funding Commitments

In an opinion piece on the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) website, MSF International President Unni Karunakara writes that with the cancellation of the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s Round 11 grants, “The Board of the Global Fund must raise the alarm. Instead of accepting rationing, and cancelling ambitions, we…