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Annan pushes for
lower anti-HIV drug costs

Annan pushes for
lower anti-HIV drug costs

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan met this week with executives from nine pharmaceutical companies to encourage them to cut the prices of their anti-HIV drugs and to accelerate research on HIV drugs and diagnostics for children. This was the most recent in a series of U.N. meetings with drugmakers during the last five years. However, it marked the first time that generic-drug manufacturers were included.

Annan said that while the companies have been responding to the world's needs, the epidemic is "still outpacing our efforts, and we need to work together in a broad partnership to step up the response." The executives agreed to review the prices of new and existing HIV diagnostics and antiretroviral medicines toward the goal of making them more affordable and accessible in developing nations. They further pledged to devote more attention to the needs of pediatric HIV patients.

Represented at the meeting were Aspen Phamacare (South Africa), Aurobindo Pharma (India), Bristol-Myers Squibb (U.S.), GlaxoSmithKline (U.K.), Hetero Drugs (India), Johnson & Johnson (U.S.), Merck (U.S.), Ranbaxy Laboratories (India), and Becton, Dickinson and Company's BD Medical unit (U.S.). (Reuters)

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