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Brazil proves developing countries can use generic medicines to fight HIV/AIDS epidemic
Date:7/13/2009

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [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.

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 authori
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Contact: Mark Hollmer
Mark_Hollmer@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert

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