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‘Global HIV drug firms fleecing developing nations’

Local News
HIV ribbon

A LEADING global HIV and Aids advocacy organisation, the Aids Healthcare Foundation has accused global HIV/Aids drug producers and suppliers of fleecing developing nations.

Speaking at a Press conference in Harare on Wednesday, African Bureau for Aids Healthcare Foundation director for advocacy, policy and marketing, Oluwakemi Gbadamosi said Western pharmaceuticals continue to exploit developing countries by overpricing medication.

“Gilead has priced several of its HIV and hepatitis C drugs out of reach of many people, and refused to register some drugs in developing countries.  Consistently, it blocks attempts to introduce cheaper generic versions of its medicines. Gilead must put lives before profits.

“A highly-effective hepatitis C drug costs US$1 000 per pill and a 12-week course of treatment has a retail price of over US$90 000,” Gbadamosi said.

Aids Healthcare Foundation is the leading global HIV and Aids organisation with over 1,7 million patients across 45 countries.

The organisation is conducting a campaign to call out Gilead so that governments and decision-makers everywhere can put collective pressure on it to prioritise people’s lives over profits.

Country programme manager for AIDS Health Care Foundation in Zimbabwe, Enerst Chikwati said Zimbabwe and other developing countries should invest in manufacturing their own drugs to cut costs and guarantee availability of drugs.

“We need to establish our own pharmaceuticals and manufacturing plants. We have to put a lot of effort in research and development of our drugs. As a country, we should approach government to run tests and put more effort in developing our drugs,” Chikwati said.

Gilead Sciences, a pharmaceutical company based in the United States, is among the top 15 largest bio-pharmaceutical firms, and is one of the major manufacturers and suppliers of HIV and Aids medication like Truvada, to African countries.

Statistics show that in 2021, Gilead generated over US$27 billion in revenue and paid its chief executive officer a bonus of over US$19 million.

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