AIDS Healthcare Foundation, has commended the World Health Organization (WHO) for their leadership and sincere interest in ensuring the safety of generic HIV/AIDS drugs in the developing world.
AHF issued the following statement in response to the WHO's announcement to pull three Ranbaxy Laboratories' drugs off of their approved medicines list in the developing world.
"At a time when the Bush administration is forbidding the use of generic drugs in the developing world -- depriving millions access to life-saving drugs -- it is good to see that the World Health Organization is looking out for the interests of poor people living with HIV and AIDS," said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "It is clear from the WHO's recent announcement that they have in place a reputable system that closely monitors the safety and efficacy of generic ARVs. The phony fig leaf of claiming that generics are unsafe is simply a way to do the bidding of big pharma."
Advocates argue that use of generic drugs is the only practical, sustainable system to battling HIV/AIDS in the developing world. Generic drugs cost a fraction of their branded alternative and have been empirically proven as effective in fighting the virus. "At our clinics in South Africa, generic drugs would save three lives for every one life saved by the branded ARV drugs," said Weinstein. "It is unconscionable to ignore these numbers."
Weinstein argues "the WHO pulling these three drugs off of the list of approved medicines should not be seen as a threat to the validity and efficacy of the use of generic antiretroviral drugs. To the contrary, the Bush bureaucrats who so staunchly decry generics because of the 'great threat' they pose should now be reassured knowing that the WHO is closely monitoring and scrutinizing these drugs for safety and efficiency: it's nice to know that someone has the best interest of the people in mind."