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Recent Releases: PEPFAR and IDUs; Economic Crisis and Health; Human-Rights and Pharmaceutical Companies

Lancet Commentary Examines How PEPFAR Failing To Reach IDUs

Although PEPFAR has helped to provide “antiretroviral therapy to 2.1 million people with HIV, almost all of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa, and has spent more than US$18 billion on the continent” it has failed to reach “thousands of injecting drug users in PEPFAR countries in Africa, many of whom have HIV,” according to the authors of a recent comment in the journal Lancet. The authors conclude, “PEPFAR has a rare opportunity to save many lives in Africa by encouragement and funding of effective strategies for HIV prevention and treatment for drug users, initiatives that have been in place in much of the world for a long time (Csete/Gathumbi/Wolfe, Lancet, 6/13).

Research Needed On Effect Of ‘Economic Crisis’ On Global Health

Andy Robertson, the editor-in-chief of Emerging Health Threats Journal, writes in an editorial that the potential effects of the economic downturn on health “have received much less attention” but are likely to be “manifold.” “At a global level, health care, already precarious in many developing countries, is likely to decline further as aid dries up and government expenditure falls, with millions more forced into poverty and malnutrition, particularly women and children,” Robertson writes. He concludes by recommending that “urgent research and critical analysis are necessary to look into the impact that this economic crisis is having on health in both developed and developing countries, and into identifying solutions than may ameliorate the most detrimental effects of this potential healthcare disaster” (Robertson, Emerging Health Threats Journal, 6/9).

Editorial Examines Right-To-Health Responsibilities Of Pharmaceutical Companies

An editorial appearing in the journal Lancet examines the recommendations that came out of a recent human rights report on the practices and policies of pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) “in relation to their right-to-health responsibilities and access to medicines” and GSK’s reaction to the analysis. The editorial concludes, “Pharmaceutical companies help deliver the right to health. They save lives. But with this role comes responsibilities—and companies must be better held to public account in relation to those responsibilities. The 2008 guidelines and the GSK report move us closer to that goal” (Lancet, 6/13). To read GSK’s response to the report, click here (GlaxoSmithKline statement, 6/09).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.