April 1, 2011
"We are at a crucial point in time" in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Ellen 't Hoen, executive director of the Medicines Patent Pool, and colleagues write in a Journal of the International AIDS Society review article that reflects on efforts to increase access to antiretrovirals (ARVs) through global trade and patent rules, and more recent approaches to drive down drug costs and promote development. "It is feasible that with better-adapted, more affordable ARVs, we can double or triple the number of people on treatment without doubling or tripling the cost," while ensuring such medications are well-tolerated, the authors write. "High prices simply cannot be legitimate grounds for withholding lifesaving treatment from people. Access to medicines is a fundamental human right, which puts the obligation on all of us to do all we can to ensure that it is fully realized," they conclude (3/27).