[Ip-health] UNITAID STATEMENT ON WORLD AIDS DAY 2011 - Keep the Momentum on Quality, Innovation and Healthy Markets

Bagozzi, Daniela bagozzid at who.int
Wed Nov 30 07:14:13 PST 2011

> Keep the Momentum on Quality, Innovation and Healthy Markets
> Geneva, 1 December, 2011 -UNITAID is committed to building on 10 years
> of historic progress in the fight against AIDS and keep the agenda
> moving forward to the next level of cost-effective quality care.
> Moreover, UNITAID will continue to advocate for markets that work
> better to meet public health needs and where trade interests do not
> hamper medicines access. 
> "While it is understandable that in the face of economic restrictions
> the immediate reaction is to contain, we need to keep our eye on the
> prize," said Philippe Douste-Blazy, Chair of UNITAID. "Ten years of
> efforts have brought us to an historic turning point in treating AIDS
> in the developing world. We need to keep that momentum - traditional
> aid is vital, but we can also implement innovative ways of raising
> additional funds. For instance, UNITAID has raised $ 1.3 billion in
> five years, but there are other possible mechanisms such as a
> financial transaction tax, which could be used to fund HIV/AIDS and
> other public health priorities."
> Funding, political will, innovation and evidence in the last ten years
> have played a vital role in placing six million people living with
> HIV/AIDS on treatment and giving hope to millions of others urgently
> needing medicines. Global health and development actors have made the
> money available stretch further by achieving progressively lower
> prices and a sustainable supply of key HIV medicines, including the
> development of simplified quality treatments through single pill
> fixed-dose combinations for adults and children. Evidence today also
> shows that quality-assured, safe and effective treatment can prevent
> transmission as well as significantly improve the lives of people
> living with HIV. This means that early, effective and quality-assured
> treatment is the best value for money proposition we have to curb the
> epidemic. 
> "We need to increase the number of people on treatment and build on
> all the progress made on quality," noted Denis Broun, UNITAID
> Executive Director. "What we have worked hard to realize for ten years
> is becoming a reality today - people in the South are starting to
> access the same medicines as people in the North, and what was once a
> death sentence is today a chronic, manageable condition. After a
> decade of diagnostics being out of reach of developing countries, we
> are on the brink of bringing quality, affordable innovative
> diagnostics into those markets, making treatment more effective and
> timely. Global leaders and others need to capitalize on these
> successes by supporting the momentum through steady, sustainable
> funding and innovative interventions that work."
> UNITAID has worked intensively to promote innovation in medicines -
> such as child-friendly formulations; has created a space for more
> sophisticated second-line treatments at lower cost, and is now looking
> to bring innovative point-of-care tests to developing countries. By
> using a market logic, UNITAID has managed to reduce the cost of some
> of these products by as much as 80%, prices that are now accessible to
> everyone.
> "As we continue to reduce costs and introduce innovation into
> developing country markets," added Denis Broun, "it is imperative that
> larger players such as the Global Fund and PEPFAR are enabled to
> continue increasing coverage. Decreasing or flat-lining their activity
> due to dwindling funds will undo those hard won victories." 
> In addition to innovative approaches and funding, it is important that
> a policy environment is created to secure markets that work better to
> meet public health needs, and that trade interests will not disrupt
> public health priorities. For instance, free trade agreements with
> India - the largest provider of AIDS medicines to the developing world
> - and other initiatives such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
> Agreement - should not include data exclusivity or other conditions
> that will have a negative impact on the supply of affordable generic
> treatments. 
> Finally, UNITAID calls on companies holding patents for important
> second- and third-line medicines to urgently consider joining the
> Medicines Patent Pool. As some people on treatment become resistant to
> the first line of defense, the developing world will increasingly need
> newer, more robust medicines which will remain patented for a long
> time to come. The Medicines Patent Pool was created precisely to
> address this challenge and make better patient-adapted,
> state-of-the-art medicines available to the poor through a voluntary
> patent sharing mechanism. 
> More on UNITAID www.unitaid.eu <http://www.unitaid.eu/> 
> Contact: Daniela Bagozzi, UNITAID Communication, Tel. +41 22 791 45
> 44; Mob. +41 79 475 54 90; Email bagozzid at who.int

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