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Peter Piot, the director of the UN agency UNAIDS, said that in parts of the world like Asia the epidemic was still in its early stages... "In 20 years time nearly 60 million people have become infected, which is enormous, but when I look at Asia, eastern Europe and west Africa for example, it has really just started...
Dr Jeffery Sachs, Professor of International Development at Harvard University, considered by the New York Times to be the most important economist in the world, launched a wide ranging attack on the World Bank and developed world governments for their handling of the African AIDS crisis... “We are talking about 5 million individuals if we only treat symptomatic individuals. We might potentially be able to scale up to treat 1 million AIDS sufferers in Africa within two years, and two to three million in five years. How much would this cost? Two million might cost $1 billion a year, plus another billion in order to improve the public health capacity...We are debating in this country whether we should have $2 trillion worth of tax cuts. $2 billion for the rich world is a levy of $2 per person per year. We could bear this cost."
Justice Edwin Cameron of South Africa’s High Court launched a blistering attack on pharmaceutical companies and his country’s government in a keynote address to the Thirteenth World AIDS Conference today in Durban."I stand before you because I can purchase health and vigour" said the judge, who was diagnosed with AIDS in 1997. "I am here because I can pay for life itself. To me this seems a monstrous iniquity".
"There are many, many persons in the resource poor world for whom prices, on their own, are the sole impediment to health and well being".
"Our overriding commitment should be to find ways to make accessible for the poor what is within reach of the affluent" he said, demanding immediate and concrete action from all pharmaceutical companies to make their products affordable in the developing world.
He compared the current moral crisis over drug access to the moral dilemmas faced by individual living in Nazi Germany or under South Africa’s apartheid regime.
(Since the court ruling in South Africa, the majority of pharmaceutical companies have implemented schemes allowing developing countries to supply anti-HIV/AIDS drugs at a more affordable price).
Further news articles can be found at www.aegis.com