WHO general assembly unanimously approves antiretroviral drugs resolution
The 192 members of the World Health Organization's general assembly, including the United States, over the weekend unanimously approved a draft resolution aimed at increasing HIV antiretroviral therapy in poor nations by providing cheap, generic anti-HIV medications, Agence France-Presse reports. The resolution is aimed at supporting the WHO's 3 by 5 Initiative, which hopes to provide antiretroviral drugs to 3 million HIV-positive people worldwide by 2005. The resolution allows developing countries to waive patent laws to import generic anti-HIV drugs that have been prequalified by the WHO. The prequalification system is a voluntary drug screening process where both patented and brand-name drugs can be submitted for evaluation, including combination pills that contain two or more medications. Although U.S. officials oppose the WHO's prequalification system and insist that all U.S. international AIDS funds be spent only on medications that have passed Food and Drug Administration standards, U.S. representatives to the WHO general assembly did not oppose the resolution during the assembly vote.