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Romania Launches Corruption Probe Into Overpriced AIDS Drugs

April 24, 2003

Romania's government will investigate the country's health ministry after a senior US diplomat said AIDS drugs were being sold to Romanians at grossly inflated prices. US Ambassador Michael Guest said last Tuesday that AIDS medications cost 50 percent more in Romania than they do in the United States, and he accused the health ministry of corrupt dealings with suppliers. A Romanian government watchdog report found that the health ministry "had not taken into consideration an agreement made with the [pharmaceutical] company GlaxoSmithKine which promised reductions of up to 87 percent in the price of AIDS medicines" in the bidding process for AIDS drugs in 2002. Rather, four Romanian importers won the contract and then levied "taxes and commissions worth up to 55 percent of the value of the drugs," the report said. Aid organizations say that only one-third of Romania's 7,904 AIDS patients receive regular antiretroviral treatment, which the health ministry claims to be too expensive.

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Adapted from:
Agence France Presse

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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