Pfizer Includes Papua New Guinea on AIDS Drug Program
October 19, 2005
On Monday, Pfizer Australia announced that Papua New Guinea (PNG) has been included in its Diflucan Partnership that supplies the anti-fungal medication to countries on the World Health Organization's list of the 50 least-developed nations. The first shipment of Diflucan, which helps fight HIV/AIDS-related infections, has already arrived at a cost of $80,000 ($60,033 US).
Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare said HIV/AIDS is spreading in PNG and Pfizer's commitment will complement the government's efforts to fight the virus. An estimated one percent of PNG's population, 69,000 people, are HIV-positive. The National Catholic HIV/AIDS Office is distributing the Diflucan.
Associate professor David Ellis of the University of Adelaide's School of Molecular and Bio-Medical Science said Diflucan treats an infection of the brain lining that afflicts about 10 percent of AIDS patients and an esophageal infection that affects about 30 percent. "Patients live longer and this greater enhances their quality of life," he said.
Pfizer Australia Managing Director John Young said the program was "without dollar commitments" and will run in PNG for as long as it is needed. He said the partnership would also work hand-in-hand with health care organizations to supply education and training to inform patients on how to use the drug properly. "There is no one solution to the crisis of HIV/AIDS ...," Young said, "but by working together we can save many lives and improve the quality of life for many others [while] research continues around the world to find a cure."
Australian Associated Press
10.17.05; Chris Herde
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.