According to Richard Feacham Executive Director of the Global Fund
), the global HIV/AIDS pandemic is already worse than the Black Death, which raged in the mid 14th Century and is the largest catastrophe in recorded human history. The HIV/AIDS pandemic is not expected to peak until around 2050 or 2060. Feacham noted that India is currently on the same trajectory as Africa, but lagging 15 years behind. At present, there is nothing in place to alter the situation in India and the scale of the Indian epidemic will be 'staggering'.
Policies agreed by the Global fund on procurement of drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS have prompted some large pharmaceutical companies to widen the availability of discounted drugs. At the last Global Fund board meeting it was decided that any drugs purchased using money donated by the Global Fund had to fulfil three principles. Drugs purchased will be at the lowest cost, they must be of assured quality, and purchases must conform to national and international legal agreements. Low income countries would now have the ability not only to access discounted drugs from the richer countries, but also to buy generic drugs from middle income countries.
The response of some drug companies to the existence of the Global Fund has resulted in bigger discounting of drugs. For example, GlaxoSmithKline announced increased discounts on drugs, and wider inclusion so that all recipients of Global Fund finance would be able to take advantage of the discounts. This means discounted drugs will now be more widely available not only to the poorest nations, but also to some middle income countries.
The Global Fund was set up in 2001 with the purpose of attracting and distributing funds to projects aimed at reducing the burden of infectious disease. The main focus is HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria. So far 2 billion dollars have been pledged. Global Fund money is already helping to increase the number of people with access to treatments for HIV.
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