Africa a Challenge in Fighting HIV/AIDS
September 30, 2008
In October 2005, the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief tapped PHD, a division of Fuel Logistics Group, to ensure the quality and supply of antiretrovirals and other medicine for 18 African countries. The task can be complex, said Dr. Iain Barton, PHD's CEO.
"Besides a lack of infrastructure, there are restraints relating to skills and people, and many relevant parties lack access to necessary resources and funding," Barton said. Predicting drug uptake is less difficult for malaria and tuberculosis than for HIV/AIDS, with its new treatments and recent service structures, he said.
"It is far more difficult to anticipate demand for the related drugs and determine where the need is and whether specific communities will even come forward and take up this kind of medicine," said Barton. The drugs' expense means it is "crucial to avoid oversupplies," he said, "particularly as the shelf-life for these drugs is shorter than most medicines."
"Inadequate data hinders the quantification and forecasting of needed commodities and large, infrequent order patterns can place burdens on local infrastructure," leading to drug outages or expirations, Barton said. "Inadequate quality process adherence can increase the chances of counterfeiting," he said. "Overburdened storage and poor delivery structures increase the risk of theft."
"Physical safety of the drugs has also been helped by manufacturers' changes to packaging, making the drugs easier to identify so stolen consignments can be more easily noticed," Barton said. Generic drugs made in India have helped reduce the potential black-market value of the drugs for would-be thieves, he noted.
Business Day (South Africa)
09.29.2008; Judy Gilmour
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.