Round-table on Access to Affordable HIV Medicines in Developing Countries

The roundtable brought together a small number of parliamentarians with senior representatives of pharmaceutical companies, NGO specialists and academics, to discuss the supply of HIV drugs in the developing world. It formed part of a larger enquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group on AIDS on access to medicines, which will culminate in a report to Government.

The meeting started with a presentation from Dr Diana Gibb, Professor in Epidemiology at the Clinical Trials Unit in the Medical Research Council. Dr Gibb has been responsible for a number of trials in Africa looking at the best way to treat children with HIV. Her presentation looked more broadly at the barriers and issues for roll-out of HIV treatment and care for adults and children in resource-limited countries. The second presentation was from Saul Walker, Senior Access to Medicines Policy Advisor at DFID. Saul gave an overview of key international players in access to medicine, DFID’s work and the challenges ahead.

The presentations were followed by lively discussion on patent pools, research and development needs, counterfeit and substandard medicines, the harmonisation of regulatory processes to speed up the time between drug development and a product reaching market, and other ways to reduce the cost of medicines.