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AIDS is not a business: A study in global corporate responsibility -- securing access to low-cost HIV medications.
Journal of Business Ethics. 2007 Jun; 73(1):65-75.At the end of the 1990s, Brazil was faced with a potentially explosive HIV/AIDS epidemic. Through an innovative and multifaceted campaign, and despite initial resistance from multinational pharmaceutical companies, the government of Brazil was able to negotiate price reductions for HIV medications and develop local production capacity, thereby averting a public health disaster. Using interview data and document analysis, the authors show that the exercise of corporate social responsibility can be viewed in practice as a dynamic negotiation and an interaction between multiple actors. Action undertaken in terms of voluntary CSR alone may be insufficient. This finding highlights the importance of a strong role for national governments and international organizations to pressure companies to perform better. (author's)
Africa Renewal. 2005 Apr; 19(1): p..When a reporter first met seven-year-old Bongani in a hardscrabble shantytown near Johannesburg in 2003, it was evident the child was dying. He was too weak for school, stunted and racked by diarrhoea. There was little question that he, like his deceased parents, was infected with the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS. It seemed equally certain that he would soon lie in a tiny grave next to theirs -- joining the 370,000 South Africans who died from the disease that year. But when the journalist, Mr. Martin Plaut of the BBC, returned a year later, he found a healthy, laughing Bongani poring over his lesson book. “The transformation,” Mr. Plaut wrote last December, “was remarkable.” That transformation -- and the difference between life and death for Bongani and a growing number of people living with HIV and AIDS in Africa -- has resulted from access to anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) that attack the virus and can dramatically reduce AIDS deaths. For years high costs severely limited their use in Africa. The Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimated that only about 50,000 of the 4 million Africans in urgent need of the drugs were able to obtain them in 2002. But with prices dropping in the face of demands for treatment access and competition from generic copies of the patented medications, the politics and economics of AIDS treatment have finally begun to shift. (excerpt)
Washington, D.C., World Bank, 2004 Feb. 103 p.This Guide sets out principles and advice for the procurement of HIV/AIDS medicines and related supplies for programs scaling up antiretroviral therapy (ART) and associated health services, such as basic and palliative care, disease prevention, treatment of opportunistic infections, and laboratory tests. ART includes the treatment of infected adults and children and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission. A wide range of other commodities— particularly condoms and support for basic living and care—are also essential to support the treatment and prevention of HIV. The primary audience for this guide is World Bank staff and those responsible for procuring HIV/AIDS medicines and related supplies in Bank-funded programs and projects. That could include either procurement agency staff or technical agency staff. Policymakers and Bank partners will also benefit from the information and advice in the guide. (excerpt)
BMJ. British Medical Journal. 2004 Jul 17; 329:129.A huge international effort is under way to get lifesaving antiretroviral treatment to three million people with AIDS in poor countries by the end of 2005, said the World Health Organization, but added that its six month campaign had fallen short of interim targets. In all, 400 000 AIDS patients in developing countries were receiving antiretrovirals when WHO launched its "3 by 5 strategy." That figure has edged up to 440 000, said WHO's progress report, presented at the international AIDS conference this week. "Although this was disappointing, the absolute increase of 40,000 people in a few months dose indicate that country and international efforts to scale up HIV- AIDS treatment are resulting in progress report. The progress report is likely to fuel critics of WHO's 3 by 5 campaign, who contend that it is overambitious, poorly managed, and too focused on lowering drug prices. (excerpt)