As the US announces that it will speed up its approval of Aids medicines, ActionAid delegates to the World Health Assemby in Geneva called on the US to make an explicit commitment enabling the use of generic medicines under its President's Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAF) programme.
ActionAid campaigner Simon Wright, attending this week's World Health Assembly in Geneva said: "It is vital that poor countries are able to access technology in the cheapest possible way. At the moment that means having the right to use cheap generic copies of patented medicines, without paying the commercial price that pharmaceutical companies in rich countries demand."
The US administration has been extremely reluctant to admit that generic medicines are of high enough quality and are the best use of limited resources. Pharmaceutical companies will not allow their drugs to be combined into single doses because it means working with commercial rivals, even though combined single doses of medecines, particularly generics, can be the best way to deliver medicines in poor countries.
"The World Health Assembly must make sure that government ministers of all countries, rich and poor, commit to making the '3 by 5' target a reality and that generic medicines are a vital part of reaching this target," said Simon Wright.
ActionAid believes that poor and marginalised people in the developing world have the right to healthcare that at present only rich countries and rich people can afford.