Death watch, Part 6. A turning point that left millions behind. Drug discounts benefit few while protecting pharmaceutical companies' profits.
The deal between 5 major pharmaceutical companies and 5 international agencies announced on May 11, 2000 to provide affordable AIDS medicines in poor countries was considered a turning point in the world’s response to the poorest AIDS sufferers. It is noted that doubts and disputes rived the potential partners, and each side tried in some measure to subvert the other’s goals. The agencies had an unspoken aim to drive prices of patented AIDS drugs down to the level of generics, and to make those prices available as widely as possible. Meanwhile, the drug companies are negotiating variable prices in strict confidence and neither the companies nor their partners have committed in practical terms to bring treatment to significant numbers of the dying. The drug discounts proposed and implemented have benefited only a few while protecting pharmaceutical companies’ profits.