September 22, 2000
A recent Washington Post article describes the remarkable success of Brazil's AIDS programs, both prevention and treatment:
"Infection rates have returned to 1995 levels. Over the past five years, the number of AIDS-related deaths has plummeted in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, the regions most deeply affected. In Rio de Janeiro, deaths fell by 40 percent; in Sao Paulo they dropped by 53.6 percent.
"At the heart of Brazil's success is its drug-distribution program. . . . Today, government labs churn out five generic AIDS medications. Brazil will spend $400 million this year to distribute medicines to 81,000 AIDS patients. . . .
"It's a well-organized, well-formulated program that works because the government has managed to integrate the whole society -- especially the NGOs," said Jorge Werthein, the Brazil representative for UNAIDS, the joint United Nations program on AIDS.
"AIDS patients in Brazil are using brand-name, U.S.-made HIV-AIDS drugs as well as locally produced generics. Brazil argues that a loophole in the World Trade Organization rules gives it permission to manufacture the generic medications in a 'national emergency.' Although pharmaceutical companies have challenged this approach as a possible violation of world trade regulations, a spokesman for the leading industry group in the United States lauded the Brazilian program."
ISSN # 1052-4207
Copyright 2000 by John S. James. Permission granted for noncommercial reproduction, provided that our address and phone number are included if more than short quotations are used.
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