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Commentary

AIDS Policy in Shambles
James K. Glassman, Scripps Howard News Service, 11-15-04

Glassman chronicles the embarrassment now enfolding the World Health Organization and AIDS activists who embraced the practice of supplying generic AIDS drugs to developing countries without vetting them for safety and efficacy first. All of the drugs made by generic Indian drug manufacturers have been removed from the W.H.O. preferred medicines list because there is no reliable evidence (to date) showing that they are in fact bioequivalent to the patented medicines they were supposed to mimic.

“The use of unverified generics – which are copies of drugs developed and patented by research pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. and Europe – has been aggressively promoted by UN agencies like the World Health Organization and by nongovernmental organizations like Doctors Without Borders.” Glassman thinks that the strategy of relying exclusively on generics is not being driven by a concern over patient health but by “animosity toward the United States and [pharmaceutical companies].”

The FDA has set up a fast-track process for generic AIDS drug approvals for the $15 billion President’s Emergency Plan for HIV/AIDS, but, so far, no generic companies have applied. What does that tell us about the confidence generic companies have in their research and products?



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