Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brazil Proves Developing Countries Can Use Generic Medicines To Fight HIV/AIDS Epidemic

Date:
July 30, 2009
Source:
Brown University
Summary:
Researchers say Brazil's push for inexpensive, low-cost HIV and AIDS treatments has helped contain the virus during the last 20 years.

AIDS treatment in developing countries. Brazil pressed pharmaceutical companies to lower their prices and began producing AIDS medicines in public factories.
Credit: Image courtesy of Brown University

Brazil's nearly two-decade effort to treat people living with HIV and AIDS shows that developing countries can successfully combat the epidemic. Inexpensive generic medicines are a large part of the solution, say researchers from Brown University and the Harvard School of Public Health.

Related Articles


Brazil did this, researchers said, largely by pursuing controversial policies that prompted pharmaceutical companies with exclusive drugs to lower their prices dramatically and generic companies to develop lower-cost alternatives for use in emerging markets.

"Brazil has proved it is possible to treat people with AIDS in developing countries," said lead author Amy Nunn, assistant professor of medicine (research) at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She added that the country saved more than $1 billion as a result of bargaining with multinational pharmaceutical companies, resulting in significant changes in global AIDS policy.

That effort, Nunn said, has had a wide impact.

"Before Brazil's efforts, as recently as the year 2000," she said, "most people living with HIV/AIDS in developing countries died without receiving treatment."

Details of their findings will be published in the July/August issue of Health Affairs. Francisco Bastos, a well-known AIDS epidemiologist at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janiero, and Elize da Fonseca at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland also participated in the research. Senior author Sofia Gruskin is an associate professor of health and human rights at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, where the initial research began.

One of the biggest advances in Brazil's push to address the advance of HIV and AIDS came in the 1990s, when the country passed a law guaranteeing free, universal access to drugs for AIDS treatment. The country also began producing generic AIDS medicines in public factories. Brazilian authorities also pressured drug companies to reduce their prices drastically for patented medicines by threatening to produce generic versions of those drugs.

Brazil was working to contain the virus years before taking that step. Researchers noted that Brazil began its HIV education and prevention campaigns early in the 1980s, focusing on condom distribution and HIV testing. Health officials also targeted prevention campaigns to those vulnerable to contracting HIV, including sex workers, injecting drug users and men who have sex with men.

The results were enormously beneficial. Researchers said the country¹s treatment initiatives also helped minimize the spread of the virus in Brazil. In doing so, health officials proved AIDS treatment was possible in a developing country. The example helped prompt sweeping changes in global public health policy and foreign aid relating to global health, with Brazil¹s actions as an example of how to make HIV/AIDS policies more effective.

Gruskin said that Brazil also spearheaded important changes in global health, trade policies, and international human rights protections related to medicines, and the country forced greater transparency about global drug prices.

An example of the change: Since 2003, the United States and other developed countries once opposed to Brazil¹s policies have invested billions of dollars annually to provide generic AIDS medicines to people in developing countries.

At home, Brazil kept its HIV/AIDS epidemic confined to .5 percent of the population. Today, about 660,000 Brazilians live with the disease.

Nunn said the study's findings show that developing countries around the world can dramatically reduce AIDS-related deaths by treating patients. She added that the research highlights the value of strategic global political engagement by developing countries.

Still, there are challenges ahead. The study shows that the cost of treating HIV/AIDS patients in Brazil has risen in recent years. The long-term costs of treating people living with HIV/AIDS will continue to rise in other countries as more people receive treatment, life expectancy is extended, and patients require more costly and often patented medicines.

A number of organizations funded the research: The U.S. Departments of State and Education, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Allergy and infectious Diseases.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brown University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Brown University. "Brazil Proves Developing Countries Can Use Generic Medicines To Fight HIV/AIDS Epidemic." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090714085814.htm>.
Brown University. (2009, July 30). Brazil Proves Developing Countries Can Use Generic Medicines To Fight HIV/AIDS Epidemic. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090714085814.htm
Brown University. "Brazil Proves Developing Countries Can Use Generic Medicines To Fight HIV/AIDS Epidemic." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090714085814.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) — Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) — Following the closure of schools and universities in Guinea because of the Ebola virus, students look for temporary work or gather in makeshift classrooms to catch up on their syllabus. Duration: 02:14 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins