HIV drugs have not only “transformed a fatal disease into a chronic one,” but “[t]hey have also made HIV a big business,” this Economist editorial states. The editorial examines the market for HIV drugs, writing, “The market is as unusual as it is large, both buoyed by government support and worryingly dependent on it. The past decade has brought fancier medicine in rich countries and copious aid for poor ones. But the war is far from won.” The editorial writes, “In total, public and private investment has yielded more than two dozen HIV drugs,” adding, “Sales of antiretroviral drugs in America and the five biggest European markets reached $13.3 billion in 2011, according to Datamonitor, a research outfit.”
Programs, Funding & Financing
“Proposals for new mechanisms to improve the funding and coordination of health research for the developing world, potentially including a binding international convention, will be formally discussed over the next year, the World Health Assembly concluded last week (21â€“26 May) in Geneva, Switzerland,” SciDev.Net reports, noting, “The WHO’s Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development (CEWG) has spent a year analyzing more than 100 proposals about how to secure new, innovative and sustainable sources of funding, and how to improve the use of existing resources to meet the health research and development (R&D) needs of developing countries.”
“Every year, somewhere between $200 billion and $1 trillion are spent in ‘mandatory’ alms [zakat] and voluntary charity [sadaqa] across the Muslim world, Islamic financial analysts estimate,” IRIN reports, noting, “At the low end of the estimate, this is 15 times more than global humanitarian aid contributions in 2011.” The news service writes, “With aid from traditional Western donors decreasing in the wake of a global recession, and with about a quarter of the Muslim world living on less than $1.25 a day, this represents a huge pool of potential in the world of aid funding.”
“Impressed with India’s successful effort in polio eradication,” a nine-member Pakistani delegation on Thursday met India’s health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and senior officials of the Ministry to discuss the country’s polio eradication program, the Press Trust of India/Business Standard reports, noting that India achieved a polio-free status as of January (5/31). “‘The focus of our visit here was for us to learn firsthand from the government officials and partners exactly what it took for India to become polio free,’ leader of the Pakistan delegation, Shahnaz Wazir Ali, said,” the PTI/Times of India writes (5/31).
Aid Agencies Should Support Journalists To Increase Their Ability To Make A Difference In Developing Countries
In this post in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters” blog, Prue Clarke, an Africa correspondent, media development specialist and the co-founder and executive director of New Narratives — Africans Reporting Africa, writes, “By not supporting journalists, aid agencies are severely limiting their access to the truth about what is happening in developing countries and, therefore, their ability to make a difference.” She continues, “In our efforts to promote our reporters’ work and fund our operations, we repeatedly meet fantastic aid groups that are driven to improve the lives of poor people in Africa, particularly women,” adding, “They fund every manner of effort to, for example, end violence against women, improve maternal health, increase the number of girls in education and prevent exploitation by foreign resources companies.”
UNAIDS Executive Director Calls On African Leaders To Reduce 'Triple Dependency' On External Sources Of HIV Drugs, Commodities, Technologies
“Delivering a speech at [Wednesday's] opening session of the 16th Conference of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe congratulated leaders across the region for their personal commitment to the HIV response, specifically with regard to upholding human rights and protecting human capital,” UNAIDS reports in an article on its website. “Addressing eight Heads of State and other high-level participants in Lome, Togo, he called on African leaders to reduce their ‘triple dependency’ on external sources for HIV drugs, commodities, and technologies,” the agency writes, adding, “To ensure the health and security of their populations, African leaders should focus greater attention and resources on the local production of medicines, said the UNAIDS executive director” (6/6).
More Affordable Bednets, Increased Transparency In Market Will Save $22M, UNICEF Executive Director Says
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said Wednesday “that a more transparent and competitive market will lead to savings of more than $20 million over the next 12 months through a price reduction of 20 percent for bednets that protect people from malaria,” a UNICEF press release reports, noting, “The price of an insecticide-treated, long-lasting bednet has dropped to under $3” (6/6). “‘Never before have bednets been as accessible and affordable for children and families in developing countries,’ said the Director of UNICEF’s Supply Division in Copenhagen, Shanelle Hall, adding that the price reduction is the result of a long-term strategy to create a healthy global market for bednets,” the U.N. News Centre writes (6/6).
The Nairobi-based African Institute for Development Policy on Tuesday presented a report called “Africa on the Move!” at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, VOA News reports, noting the report “says that in some African countries, political will, maternal and child health concerns as well as more and more funding are helping to develop effective family planning.” According to VOA, “Steve McDonald, the host of the event and Africa director at the Wilson Center, said partnerships between governments and religious organizations, which sometimes provide the bulk of health services in remote areas, are also crucial.”
“[C]ooperation is essential to combat diseases that cross national borders,” Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy and a research scholar and lecturer at Princeton University, and Bryan Grenfell and Petra Klepac of Princeton University write in a SciDev.Net opinion piece. “This is not restricted to regional control — long-term, coordinated efforts that give neighboring countries an incentive to immunize or put in place other intervention measures can also lead to global elimination of a disease,” they write, discussing optimal vaccination strategies and disease control challenges.
“Research funded by the Dengue Vaccine Initiative (DVI) involving an economic analysis of producing a tetravalent dengue vaccine shows that the cost could be as low as $0.20 per dose with an annual production level of 60 million doses packaged in 10-dose vials,” a Sabin Vaccine Institute press release reports. The study, published in the July 6 issue of the journal Vaccine, “used data on a vaccine developed by U.S. NIH and the facilities of the Instituto Butantan in Sao Paulo, Brazil,” the press release notes, adding the findings “should provide confidence to ministries of health that they can aggressively plan for the inclusion of dengue vaccine in their immunization programs, as the vaccine should be available at a cost that even middle-income and developing countries can afford” (6/27).