Minister Kitt lauds Clinton deal on low cost AIDS drugs
Former US president Bill Clinton announced yesterday that he had reached an agreement with four pharmaceutical companies to manufacture low-cost antiretroviral drugs for the treatment of AIDS in developing countries.
In making the announcement President Clinton indicated that the low cost drugs will be made available to people in Africa and the Caribbean where the Clinton Foundation has already secured agreements with governments to establish integrated care, treatment and prevention programmes.
The Irish Government has afforded high priority to supporting efforts to contain the spread of HIV/AIDS in developing countries. It has been supportive of efforts to make the treatment of AIDS in poorer countries a matter of international concern.
Ireland is one of the first countries to provide financial support to the work of the Clinton Foundation. In May of this year, the Taoiseach Mr. Bertie Ahern T.D, Minister of State Tom Kitt and former US President Bill Clinton signed an agreement providing for cooperation between the Government's aid programme, Development Cooperation Ireland, and the Clinton Foundation on fighting HIV/AIDS in developing countries.
A major focus of this cooperation is the provision of HIV/AIDS treatment i.e. access to life saving drugs, for poor people in Mozambique in cooperation with the Government of Mozambique.
Responding to yesterday's announcement by Bill Clinton, Tom Kitt Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Human Rights, stated:
“This agreement is truly historic. It represents a breakthrough in efforts to make drugs available to poorer countries for the treatment of AIDS. Though this agreement the price of anti-retroviral drugs will cut by up to 50%. This surely is a huge advance in the global fight against AIDS”
Minister Kitt added that:
“I believe that the market should not determine who has the right to receive life-saving drugs for deadly diseases such as AIDS.
The lower cost and greater availability of life-saving anti-retroviral drugs now means the treatment of AIDS can become a reality for people in poorer countries”
Note for editors:
Worldwide between five and six million people currently need treatment for AIDS, though more than 40 million are estimated to be infected with HIV. That number will rise substantially in just a few years.
However, only about 300,000 people in the developing world are receiving Anti-retroviral treatment – over a third of whom are in Brazil. In sub-Saharan Africa, only about 50,000 people are being treated with these drugs. It is estimated over four million are in need of this treatment in Africa to-day.
For more information on Development Cooperation Ireland please go to: www.dci.gov.ie