With an increasing HIV epidemic burden in sub-Saharan Africa, experts from Health Action International (HAI) Africa, a civil society organisation, have called for increased access to HIV treatment.
According to officials, patent owners of essential medicines should put their copyrights in a ‘pool’ which allows generic manufacturers to produce the exact copies but at affordable prices.
“The patent pool mechanism is an important tool because it provides an innovative approach to price reductions which will improve access to medicines for treatment of HIV,” Lucy Chesire of Tuberculosis Action said.
Singling out children living with HIV who are currently forced to rely on unsuitable adult ARVs, officials also added that, the pool mechanism would also help stimulate interest in research on new paediatric formulations.
“Children living with HIV have fallen off the research agenda of the pharmaceutical companies because they do not present a viable and profitable market.
It is a shame that they chose to put profit before life, yet less than 10 percent of the over 2 million children living with HIV have access to these medicines that help them stay alive,” warns Christa Cepuch, a pharmacist with HAI Africa.
The experts explained that the patent pool voluntary mechanism increases access to the rather expensive medicines thus enabling even the poor people, especially in the developing world, to acquire medication.