Wednesday, July 22, 2009

De Facto Subsidies for Big Pharma

It sounds like this article, about a HIV prevention trial of gel and tablets, is actually about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

PrEP is the use of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to prevent HIV infection. At present, ARVs are used to treat people who are at an advanced stage of HIV. They are also used to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV.

One of the reasons that HIV programmes, especially treatment programmes, are so expensive is because the price of ARVs are kept artificially high by drug companies and this phenomenon is supported by donor funding, which is a de facto subsidy to the pharmaceutical industry.

If PrEP gets the go ahead, HIV prevention could also become dominated by capital intensive pharmaceutical technologies. There are an estimated 33 million people living with HIV at the moment. The number of people who could be targeted with PrEP would run in to the hundreds of millions.

It seems odd that the article never mentions PrEP but perhaps it's just an oversight. Sphere: Related Content

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