GSK to fight HIV AIDS in Africa

GlaxoSmithKline’s CEO Andrew Witty announced a series of new initiatives targeted at improving research, development, and access to HIV/AIDS medicines for children in Sub-Saharan Africa and supporting healthcare for people living with HIV and AIDS.

His announcements build on commitments unveiled in February aimed at expanding access to medicines and encouraging new research into diseases that disproportionately affect the world’s poorest countries.

The new initiatives focus primarily on the care and treatment of children with HIV/AIDS. More than two million children live with HIV/AIDS, almost all of them in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the vast majority of children being infected with HIV through mother-to-child transmission.

Speaking at the Positive Action Zingatia Maisha HIV programme in Kibera, Kenya, Mr Witty said: “Despite progress that has been made over the past few years, the treatment of children with HIV/AIDS remains a significant unmet medical need.

Firstly, we must do a better job at preventing HIV in children. Today we are announcing a new “Positive Action for Children” Fund which we will support with up to ?50 million over 10 years. This Fund will be for NGOs and others who work to prevent mother-to-child-transmission and who work with orphans and vulnerable children.

Secondly, GSK should use its strength and expertise as a research-based company to find and develop new medicines. We will therefore make available ?10 million as seed money to support a new public private partnership approach for paediatric HIV research.

In addition to fostering research, we are also setting out new commitments to increase access to HIV medicines in collaboration with other companies. This includes developing new fixed-dosed combination treatments for adults and children, and extending our voluntary licensing policy to include abacavir.

Our objective for Africa is clear – to make existing medicines as widely available as possible while at the same time ensuring sustained investment into R&D for a new generation of medicines.”

The new targeted measures GSK will pursue are designed to improve the availability of HIV medicines in Sub-Saharan Africa. These are:

– New ‘Positive Action for Children’ Fund created with ?50 million ($80 million) available over 10 years to help prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV and to support orphans and vulnerable children

– ?10 million seed funding to support a Public Private Partnership into research and development of new HIV/AIDS medicines for children

– New commitment to seek collaborations with other companies to develop fixed-dosed combinations

– Voluntary licence policy extended to cover abacavir ? new royalty free licence agreed with Aspen

Source: GlaxoSmithKline, USA

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