Brazil urges U.N. to approve generic manufacture of AIDS drugs

On Monday, Brazilian officials called on the United Nations General Assembly to recognize the right of its member nations to manufacture generic versions of patented AIDS drugs. Brazil has been able to substantially reduce its number of AIDS-related deaths and new AIDS cases by making antiretroviral drugs more accessible and affordable through locally made generics, according to a recent report from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Brazil’s call comes in the midst of legal maneuvering by pharmaceutical companies to stop the local manufacture of generic versions of their HIV drugs in Brazil, India, and South Africa. Hearings in a lawsuit filed by more than 40 drug companies against the government of South Africa, which permits generic drugs to be made within its borders, are scheduled to begin in Pretoria on March 5.

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