AIDs drug production plant in South Africa could be a breakthrough

Currently South Africa imports all the ingredients used to manufacture anti-retroviral medicines (ARVs), mostly from India. These imports make up a large share of the country’s US$3.2 billion annual outlay on medicines. But a venture to establish the first pharmaceutical plant to manufacture Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) needed to make ARVs, could be a huge cost-saving measure. This joint venture between the government and leading biochemicals company, Lonza, is expected to significantly cut South Africa’s dependence on imported drugs used to treat HIV and Aids.


Fake malaria drugs could 'put millions at risk'

Fake and poor quality anti-malarial drugs are threatening efforts to control the disease in Africa and could put millions of lives at risk. The fake medicines could harm patients and promote drug resistance among malaria parasites. Malaria is believed to kill about 800,000 people a year. The researchers, examined fake and substandard anti-malarial drugs that were found on sale in 11 African countries between 2002 and 2010. They discovered that some counterfeits contained a mixture of the wrong pharmaceutical ingredients which would initially alleviate the symptoms of malaria but would not cure it.


The European Medicines Agency (EMA) approves medicines for outside the EU

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), prequalification project, may give a scientific opinion, which is equivalent to approval of medicines for use outside Europe to prevent or treat diseases of major public health interest. This includes vaccines used in the WHO Expanded Programme on Immunisation or for protection against a public health priority disease, as well as medicines for WHO target diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, or tuberculosis.


EU drive to protect drug firms puts fight against Aids
at risk

The cheap supply of antiretroviral drugs to people with Aids could be choked by an "intellectual property" deal, which the European Union is negociating with India. More than 80 per cent of patients in developing countries use generic medicines made in India. But those drugs are under threat from this Trade agreement. The EU has long been seizing supplies of the drugs as they transit through Europe on their way from India to Africa. Now, under this new EU-India Free Trade Agreement, it wants the country nicknamed "the pharmacy of the developing world" to impose lengthy delays in the production of affordable generic versions of vital medicines.



The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)
a flawed process

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) proposes aggressive intellectual property enforcement that would hinder generic competition, leaving healthcare systems and consumers to pay higher prices for medicines. Generic competition is key for bringing down prices and ensuring access to affordable medicines, all around the world and in the poorest settings. In the case of some essential medicines, even temporary delays in the trade in generics can be potentially life-threatening. Similar provisions as those in ACTA have already stopped generic medicines in transit through Europe, delaying their speedy delivery to developing countries. ACTA was established over the last five years in a secret, undemocratic process. ACTA predominantly caters to private rights holders (big companies). The European Union’s first and foremost concern should be its citizens, and the citizens of the world, not its corporations. A free and unburdened trade in legitimate generics is crucially important for access to safe, affordable and quality assured medicines.


Worldwide demonstrations say “NO to ACTA”

On the 10 February 2012 in over 200 cities all over the world people took to the streets, to say ‘NO’ to ACTA,  speaking out against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) – an international agreement that threatens our civil liberties and access to medicines.



Financial Crisis May Kill in Congo as
Global Health Aid Stalls

Europe’s debt crisis has brought down governments, roiled markets and triggered austerity measures affecting millions. Governments struggling to curb deficits from Spain to the U.S. have cut or slowed their contributions to the World Health Organization and disease-fighting funds that prop up health services in the world’s poorest countries. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 28,000 people with HIV who were meant to start life-saving treatment by 2014 may not because of shortfalls in the foreign aid that pays for the nation’s AIDS drugs. Some of those people will get sick and die.



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