Global AIDS fund approves use of generic anti-HIV drugs

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com October 16 2002 11:00 PM ET

On Tuesday the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria urged developing countries receiving money from the fund to buy cheap generic anti-HIV medications instead of the more costly brand-name drugs, The New York Times reports. The fund asks that programs receiving funds buy the lowest-priced drugs available that meet guaranteed quality standards. Any drug on the World Health Organization's new list of approved drugs, which include several generic anti-HIV medications, automatically qualifies for the program. Other generic drugs will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

The decision opens the door for generic anti-HIV drugmakers in India, Brazil, and other countries to sell their products throughout the world. "It's a big step forward," said Richard Feachem, executive director of the fund, explaining that the decision will help stretch the fund's resources.

The announcement by the global fund was met with a surprising endorsement from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a trade group that historically has opposed the creation of generic versions of patented anti-HIV medications. "We believe strongly that there is room for bona fide generics as long as they are of high quality," said group spokesperson Shannon Herzfeld.