Review Of Brazil’s HIV/AIDS Treatment Programs Shows Importance Of Generic Drugs, Researchers Say

“Brazil has been successful in its nearly 20-year effort to treat people living with” HIV/AIDS, and generic medicines have been “a large part of the solution,” according to a recent Health Affairs review, UPI reports (UPI, 7/14). The review examines Brazil’s passing of “a law in the 1990s that guaranteed citizens free and universal access to drugs for HIV and AIDS treatment” as well as the country’s production of generic HIV/AIDS medicines in public factories, AHN reports.  “The [Brazilian] government also prompted drug companies to lower their prices by threatening to make generic versions of [patented] HIV and AIDS drugs in the public factories,” writes AHN (Goodhue, 7/14). 

“Brazil has proved it is possible to treat people with AIDS in developing countries,” said lead author Amy Nunn, an assistant professor at Brown University, in a written statement. “[T]he country saved more than $1 billion as a result of bargaining with multinational pharmaceutical companies, resulting in significant changes in global AIDS policy,” according to a Brown University/EurekAlert! release (7/14).

“Although Brazil’s exact model might not be replicated elsewhere, it provides evidence that AIDS treatment is possible in a developing country,” the authors write, adding, “Other countries, particularly middle-income countries, have learned much from Brazil’s experience as they now negotiate deep discounts with pharmaceutical companies, benefit from tiered pricing structures, issue compulsory licenses, rely increasingly on generics, work with blossoming civil-society movements, implement new health infrastructure, and provide millions of people with AIDS treatment” (Nunn et. al, Health Affairs, 7/09).

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