Can the U.S. realistically honor commitments to fund treatment for AIDS in developing countries without generic products?

14% (54 votes)
86% (334 votes)
Total votes: 388

Making treatment sustainable

This is a major challenge for policy makers -- finding a way to provide sustainable access to newer AIDS drugs, at affordable prices. The major donors have yet to explicitly address, because of the politically sensitive and aggressively lobbied intellectual property issues loom large.

James Love, Director, KEI

Bit surprising results of poll?

I was a bit surprised that there was such a large majority of contestants replying ¨no¨. Realistically, the US can fund such projects: the cash is there, and there's enough of an absence of intellectual property rights in the countries involved that that's not necessarily a big issue. If they can also do it domestic-politically is a different issue. Right?

Amelia Andersdotter, Piratpartiet, Brussel

Why a majority no?

Dear Amelia.

1. The cash is really not there.
2. The question concerned access to generic products. You might want to look at the prices for the originator products, particularly for the newer drugs, and particularly in countries with incomes from $2k to $9k per year. They are significantly higher than prices now paid for 1st generation generic ARV products. (Which can be obtained for less than $70 per year).

As regard to your questions about IPR:

3. There is plenty of IPR around, particularly for the newer products. For example, nearly all least developed countries (the 50 poorest and least developed in the world), recognize pharmaceutical patents. Certainly most Subsaharian African countries recognize patents on drugs. The existence of donor money for ARV products has in fact lead to MORE patents being filed in poor countries.
4. Economies of scale are a big deal, and a lack in IPR in some countries may not be enough to simulate efficient and competitive generic entry in others.

James Love, Director, KEI