WHO Head Urges Drug Companies to Cut AIDS Drug Costs Further
WHO Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland, speaking on a Norwegian radio station on Tuesday, urged pharmaceutical companies to further reduce the cost of AIDS drugs for developing countries, Reuters reports. Brundtland, in Norway for a three-day WHO/WTO-sponsored
meeting on drug access, said, "A number of drug companies are contributing and have reduced prices fairly considerably. ... But they have to go further. We agree on the main problem -- it's a huge problem that a third of the earth's people don't have access to vital medicine." She added, "It's a bit hard to reach solutions, but I think we're working towards greater bilateral understanding." The meeting, set to end today, is closed to the media and is not expected to produce "firm decisions," Reuters reports. Brundtland said that meeting participants are also examining the broader issue of health care infrastructure in developing countries, saying, "Cheaper medicines are important but ... in many countries there's no real medical system. Health personnel cannot even know what type of medicines are needed. ... We need to develop basic primary care" (Reuters, 4/10). To listen to a related report on the WHO/WTO meeting that aired yesterday on NPR's "All Things Considered," go to http://search.npr.org/cf/cmn/cmnpd01fm.cfm?PrgDate=04/10/2001&PrgID=2 and scroll down to the "Norway AIDS Meeting" story. You must have RealAudio to hear this report.
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