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PEPFAR is slow to
embrace generic AIDS drugs

PEPFAR is slow to
embrace generic AIDS drugs

The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, PEPFAR, has been slow to allow the procurement of generic antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV/AIDS, according to a new study by the Center for Public Integrity, a public-interest journalistic nonprofit.

The group's yearlong investigation into President Bush's $15 billion program, called Divine Intervention, found that between 2004 and 2005, 5% of the antiretroviral drug budget (or about $15 million, PEPFAR estimates) was allocated for generic drugs.

The current policy only allows the purchase of drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration. In 2004, almost all antiretroviral drugs administered through the program were name-brand. By October 2006 the FDA approved 26 generic versions.

The study cites Botswana, the first country to offer the drugs to all citizens in need in 2002. The program, which the study acknowledges is costly, has since decreased the number of fatalities due to HIV/AIDS. (The Advocate)

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