Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis or PrEP

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) involves putting HIV negative people on antiretroviral drugs (ARV) with the aim of protecting them from HIV infection. This blog looks at some of the pros and cons of PrEP.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

HIV Still Holds Good Opportunities for Investors

A worrying aspect of the ever increasing medicalization of health, including HIV/AIDS and other diseases that are especially common in developing countries, is the question of how the commodities involved will be paid for. Many people advocating the greater use of drugs, perhaps most, have an interest of some kind, financial, political, career related, perhaps all of these.

But the fact is, people in developing countries can not pay for expensive commodities. And there's no reason why they should do so when their most urgent needs are not commodities, they are basic human rights, such as food, water and sanitation, basic health services, education, infrastructure and other social services. People don't generally die for want of expensive medication, though they often die for want of very cheap medication, medication which is too cheap for Big Pharma to be interested in.

Protesters in India have been arrested for arguing that the European Union (EU) is threatening the production and use of cheap generic drugs by hoodwinking India into signing a 'Free' Trade Agreement (FTA), which will 'allow' India to export some of its products in greater quantities to Europe, but at derisory prices. In reality, the agreement is so that European countries can export their overpriced goods, often goods that are only likely to benefit wealthier Indians, to a country that has no need of these goods.

Medicins Sans Frontieres is running a campaign to prevent the EU from abusing its power in this way (email the EU trade commissioner to protest!). The FTA would apply to all drugs, whether intended for primary health or otherwise, whether lifesaving or not. It would also apply to all other goods and the conditions go beyond what is required by the World Trade Organization's Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreement (TRIPS). Those who naively support the greater use of PrEP could take a little time to consider if such a strategy would really benefit people who are most at risk of HIV infection.


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