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Developing Countries: AIDS

Volume 458: debated on Monday 26 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will seek a reduction in the price of the essential medicines for AIDS treatment at the forthcoming G8 Development Ministers meeting; and if he will raise the issue of patent barriers at the meeting. (129633)

We welcome the German G8 Presidency's continued focus on HIV/AIDS including universal access to prevention, treatment and care, and essential medicines for AIDS treatment for all that need it. Development Ministers will include reducing the price of first and second line anti-retrovirals, and intellectual property issues, in their discussions. They will also consider related factors, such as research and development funding and propose a UN stock-take to review countries' universal access plans. A rapid review would strengthen efforts to deliver universal access and help realise our commitment to ensuring that “costed, inclusive, sustainable, credible and evidence-based national HIV/AIDS plans are funded” as agreed at the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV and AIDS in June 2006.

We are working to encourage G8 partners to support and subscribe to mechanisms to help reduce medicine prices, for example as the UK and France have done by joining the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNITAID), the drug purchase facility. One of the first actions of UNITAID, which started work in September 2006, was to negotiate lower prices for paediatric HIV/AIDS treatment expected to benefit 100,000 children. Through its long-term and predictable funding, UNITAID has an explicit aim to help lower drug prices. We are also working closely with the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) initiative to make paediatric AIDS treatments more widely available.