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Pharmaceutical Companies Should do a
Better Job Providing AIDS Treatment
A Presentation by:
Greg Sorrells
Julieth Monroy
and Rachel Kohn
What is AIDS/HIV?
• Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS, is a virus that
attacks the body’s immune system.
HIV infects the cells of living organisms and replicates itself within
those cells. It attacks the special immune system cell known as
CD4 lymphocyte. It uses trickery such as rapid mutations to take
over the body’s defenses.
It can be transmitted in three ways:
– Sexually
– Through blood
– Mother to child
Clip 1
Generic vs. Patented Drugs
• Patented drugs are those that companies such as Merck produce
that cannot be reproduced and sold at a lower price. These drugs
are legally protected and therefore enable a company with such a
drug the ability to monopolize the market.
• Generic drugs are reproductions of patented drugs that are sold to
the people of poorer nations for more affordable prices.
Generic vs. Patented Drugs
• Because patents create monopolies, manufacturers can
charge high prices. When those monopolies are broken,
prices fall. When manufacturers in developing countries
began producing generic versions of patented antiretroviral
drugs, the annual price of individual AIDS treatment fell
from $10,000 to just over $200 in countries where generic
versions were available.
• Governments can override patents by issuing compulsory
licenses, which grant the right of manufacture to another
company on payment of a royalty to the patent holder. But
licenses must be predominantly for domestic use. A poor
country without the capacity to manufacture drugs cannot
issue a compulsory license to a manufacturer in another
country and therefore must pay the monopoly price on the
patented drug.
Technology: Treatment
• The main type of treatment for HIV or AIDS does not cure,
but can hinder illness for many years. It consists of drugs
that must be taken daily for the rest of one’s life; one of the
main problems for economically underdeveloped countries.
This treatment also slows down replication of HIV in the
Company Profits
Company Profits, contd.
• People living with HIV/AIDS in 2006
– 39.5 million
• People newly infected with HIV in 2006
– 4.3 million
• AIDS deaths in 2006
– 2.9 million
• Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest concentration of people
living with AIDS at 24.7 million.
– The next highest is South and South East Asia at 7.8 million.
– The lowest is Oceania at 81,000.
• Everybody’s got to make a buck, but is it really all right to
put profits before lives?
• Some countries, such as Botswana, are making an effort to
better care for their citizens by creating treatment
programs such as MASA.
• MASA was created in 2002 to provide free AIDS medication
to the people of Botswana, Africa. The aim was to provide
medication during the coming year to 19,000 of the
110,000 infected people whom it was considered could
benefit. As a result of poor resources - laboratory capacity,
staff and infrastructure - it was decided to initially target
four population groups: pregnant women with AIDS, HIVpositive child in-patients, HIV-positive people with TB, and
adult in-patients with AIDS.
Ethics/MASA, contd.
• It was estimated that it would cost $24.5 million to include 19,000
people in 2002 (around $1,300 per patient), and then an
additional 20,000 people would be admitted each year.
Botswana's national treatment program is now seen as a
successful model for other African countries to follow. Though
progress was initially slower than expected, the program made
rapid progress in 2004 and 2005, and patient responses have
been comparable to those seen in Europe and the USA.
MASA has demonstrated that antiretroviral treatment can be
provided on a national scale through the public health system of a
sub-Saharan African country - not just through localized projects
run by foreign aid workers or researchers. In Botswana's case,
almost all of the actual cost of treatment has been paid by the
Government, while other partners have given support by
providing laboratory equipment, staff training or patient
monitoring services.
Pro’s and Con’s
• Pro’s
– Keeps the wallets of drug company CEO’s fatter.
– Ensures the proper R&D is being done for each drug.
– Ensures the consumer that the drug is safe.
• Con’s
– Keeps treatment costs high for people in poorer nations.
– Doesn’t allow for multiple companies to produce drugs that
fight the same cause.
– Hinders the opportunity for the advancement of medicine
dedicated to fighting this disease.
Clip 2
The AIDS Stigma in Africa
• The previous clip demonstrates the stigma that AIDS has in
– Many people refuse even free treatment because of the
stigma attached to the AIDS virus.
– They believe that people will look down upon them if
they admit their problem.
– Some Africans simply don’t want to be dealt the bad
news so they deny testing.
• It also reinforces the severity of the situation there by
informing the viewer that most people in Africa will consider
a person in their mid 40’s to be old rather than what most
people in the world today recognize as being old.
Clip 3
• (RED) was created by Bono and Bobby Shriver, Chairman of
DATA to raise awareness and money for The Global Fund by
teaming up with the world's most iconic brands to produce
(PRODUCT)RED branded products. A percentage of each
(PRODUCT)RED product sold is given to The Global Fund.
The money helps women and children affected by HIV/AIDS
in Africa.
We believe pharmaceutical companies have done a great job thus
far, but it is not enough. They have to recognize that they can do
more. If there are medications available and someone, just one
person isn’t able to access them, then we are not doing enough.
We cannot look at this from the perspective of percentages or
statistics we have to look at it from the perspective of a mother
who loses her child to AIDS or a baby who will not have a mother
or a father to care for them and love them due to AIDS. Over 25
million people have already died from AIDS all over the world.
How many more have to die for us to stop it?
• Generic vs. Patented
• Merck/Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
• Avert
• (RED)