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									                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ARAB TIMES, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2011
HEALTH                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           32


         People dying from disease falls

AIDS drugs push HIV
numbers to new high
LONDON, Nov 21, (RTRS): More people than ever are living with the AIDS
virus but this is largely due to better access to drugs that keep HIV patients
alive and well for many years, the United Nations AIDS programme
(UNAIDS) said on Monday.
   In its annual report on the pandemic, UNAIDS said the number of people
dying of the disease fell to 1.8 million in 2010, down from a peak of 2.2 mil-
lion in the mid-2000s.
   UNAIDS director Michel Sidibe said the past 12 months had been a “game-
changing year” in the global AIDS fight.
   Some 2.5 million deaths have
been averted in poor and middle-
income countries since 1995 due to              ‘Plain packaging’
AIDS drugs being introduced and
access to them improving, according
                                            Philip Morris
   Much of that success has come in
the past two years as the numbers of        sues Australia
people getting treatment has                  SYDNEY, Nov 21, (AFP):
increased rapidly.                            Global tobacco giant Philip
   “We’ve never had a year when               Morris said Monday it was
there has been so much science, so            suing the Australian govern-
much leadership and such results in           ment over a new law requiring
one year,” Sidibe said in a telephone         all cigarettes to be sold in plain
interview from UNAIDS headquar-                  “We are left with no option,”
ters in Geneva.                               Philip Morris Asia (PMA)
   “Even in this time of public               spokesperson Anne Edwards
finance crises and uncertainty about          said in a statement received
funding, we’re seeing results. We are         by AFP.
seeing more countries than ever                  “The       government        has
before (achieving) significant reduc-         passed this legislation despite
tions in new infections and stabilis-         being unable to demonstrate
ing their epidemics.”                         that it will be effective at reduc-   A man looks through the ocular of a microscope at the ‘Medica World Forum for Medicine’ (MEDICA) fair in Duesseldorf, western Germany. 4,571 exhibitors from
                                              ing smoking and has ignored           63 different countries presented their medical technology products during the world’s largest medical trade fair, MEDICA 2011 that ran up to Nov 19, 2011. (AFP)
   Since the beginning of the AIDS            the widespread concerns
pandemic in the 1980s, more than 60
million people have been infected
                                              raised in Australia and interna-
                                              tionally regarding the serious                                                                                                     Indians get new lease of life
with the human immunodeficiency               legal issues associated with
virus (HIV) that causes AIDS. HIV             plain packaging.”
can be controlled for many years
with cocktails of drugs, but there is
as yet no cure.
                                                 Under the ground-breaking
                                              law, all tobacco products sold
                                              in Australia will need to be in
                                                                                                                                     Used pacemakers safe, effective
                                              plain packaging from Dec 1,                                                            MUMBAI, Nov 21, (AFP): Chandra-                   born cardiologist, who practises in              care sector with world-class facilities
   The UNAIDS report said 34 mil-             2012.
lion people around the world had                 Cigarettes will be sold in
                                                                                                                                     kant Pawar is lucky to be alive. In               Pennsylvania, said in a phone interview.         and care, plus the development of a med-
HIV in 2010, up from 33.3 million in          drab, olive-brown packets with                                                         September, the Indian former textile mill            “Some consultants play golf. I go to          ical tourism industry enticing patients
2009.                                         large, graphic health warnings.                                                        worker was given an artificial pacemak-           funeral homes,” he said. “When I find a          from around the world.
   Among the most dramatic                       The government hailed the                                                           er after his heart rate plunged to just 20        (pacemaker) device which has five years             But the majority of India’s 1.2 billion
changes was the leap in the number            passage of the law Monday as                                                           to 30 beats per minute.                           of life left, it’s like finding bullion.         people are still forced to rely on a mas-
of people getting treatment with              “one of the most momentous                                                                On the face of it, his case was not               “It makes me happy because it’s going         sively over-stretched, under-funded pub-
AIDS drugs when they need it.                 public health measures in                                                              unusual, with the use of pacemakers to            to help someone who can’t afford the             lic health system with crumbling, dirty
   Of the 14.2 million people eligible        Australia’s history” and called                                                        correct abnormal heart rates now com-             treatment in India.”                             and overcrowded hospitals.
                                              on the big tobacco companies                                                           monplace around the world. What was                  Mascarenhas and his colleague from               Low-income families often are forced
for treatment in low- and middle-             to accept the will of parliament.
income countries, around 6.6 mil-                Hong Kong-based PMA said                                                            more unusual is that his pacemaker was            the University of Texas Health Science           to take loans to cover basic medical fees.
lion, or 47 percent, are now receiv-          it was seeking to suspend the                                                          “second-hand”.                                    Center at Houston, Bharat Kantharia,                A new pacemaker, which in India can
ing it, UNAIDS said, and 11 poor-             law and wanted substantial                                                                Instead of a new device, the 61-year-          highlighted the scheme in an article in          cost up to 150,000 rupees ($3,000) and
and mid-income countries now have             compensation for the loss of                                                           old from Mumbai was given a free                  the American Journal of Cardiology in            lasts around 10 years, is for most people
universal access to HIV treatment,            the company’s trademarks                                                               reconditioned pacemaker that had been             October.Between 2004 and 2010, they              prohibitively expensive.
                                              and investments in Australia          In this picture, Chandrakant Pawar,
with coverage of 80 percent or more.                                                61-year-old poses at the Holy Family             used previously by a patient in the               said 53 permanent pacemakers (PPMs)                 “There’s a tremendous need,” said
   This compares with 36 percent of           under a bilateral investment                                                           United States and removed after their             donated from US funeral homes were               Mascarenhas, adding that patients were
                                              treaty with Hong Kong.                Hospital in Mumbai. Pawar is lucky to
the 15 million people needing treat-             The company expects dam-           be alive. In September, the Indian for-          death.                                            sterilised, reconditioned and used by the        dying for lack of equipment or the cost
ment in 2009 who got AIDS drugs.              ages to amount to billions of         mer textile mill worker was given an                “I feel much better now. There’s no            Holy Family Hospital.                            of treatment. “It’s a sad state of affairs.”
   Major producers of HIV drugs               dollars and that the legal            artificial pacemaker after his heart             giddiness,” said Pawar, who suffered                 Of those, 37 were implanted in new               Mascarenhas and Kantharia, who both
include Gilead, Bristol Myers                 process will take two to three        rate plunged to just 20 to 30 beats per          three years of black-outs due to his low          patients while 16 were given to those            trained in Mumbai, said they would like
Squibb, Merck, Pfizer and                     years.                                             minute. (AFP)                       pulse. “It’s like a new life,” he told AFP.       requiring replacement devices.                   to expand the scheme but were aware
GlaxoSmithKline. Improved access                 “We are confident that our                                                             The privately run Holy Family                     “No significant complications includ-         that regulatory issues were a potential
to drugs from these and other manu-           legal arguments are very                                                               Hospital in Mumbai, where he was treat-           ing infections or device failures” were          stumbling block.
                                              strong and that we will ulti-
facturers means not only that fewer
people are dying of AIDS each year,           mately       win     this    case,”          Health                                    ed, has been receiving “second-hand”
                                                                                                                                     pacemakers from the United States for
                                                                                                                                                                                       found when patients were tracked, the
                                                                                                                                                                                       doctors said, calling the procedure “safe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           US-based cardiac arrhythmia special-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ist David Martin also said a “risk averse”
                                              Edwards said.
UNAIDS said, but also that the risk                                                                                                  the last decade under an innovative               and effective”.                                  climate inhibits makers and regulators
of new HIV infections is reduced.                                                   ‘Doxil shortage could continue’:                 scheme designed to help its poorest                  “Implantation of donated PPMs can             from sanctioning re-use of the devices,
   A series of scientific studies have number of averted AIDS deaths was            Cancer patients relying on Johnson &             patients. The doctor behind the initiative,       not only save lives but also improve             which are labelled “single-use only”.
shown that getting timely treatment important progress, but said the                Johnson’s drug Doxil could continue facing       Daniel Mascarenhas, has also provided             quality of life of needy patients.”                 There could be objections on ethical
to those with HIV can substantially number of people on treatment need-             shortages after a contract manufacturer sus-     other equipment, including coronary                  The charitable scheme highlights the          grounds from patients and their families,
cut the number of people who ed to increase dramatically to reap                    pended operations at its Ohio plant, accord-
                                                                                    ing to The Wall Street Journal.                  stents (tubes) and implantable defibrilla-        problems of access to quality healthcare         he added. And even if those hurdles were
become newly infected with the the benefits of science showing                         Ben Venue Laboratories Inc, which is a        tors, which send electric shocks to cor-          in India, which is seeing spiralling rates       overcome, the treatment may still be
virus.                                     treatment saves lives and prevents       unit of Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, shut          rect abnormal heart rhythms.                      of heart disease due to rapid lifestyle          unaffordable because pacemaker leads
   Sidibe said this was starting to new infections.                                 down manufacturing and distribution opera-          All the devices have either been               changes.                                         are not re-usable, said Martin, from the
show in new case numbers.                     “Never, in more than a decade of      tions at its Bedford, Ohio, plant after a        removed from patients or were unused                 On the one hand, the booming econo-           Lahey Medical Center in Burlington,
   There were 2.7 million new HIV treating people living with                       review showed that preventative mainte-          but past their expiry dates, the Indian-          my has led to a buoyant private health-          Massachusetts.
infections worldwide in 2010, 15                                                    nance and requalification of some manufac-
percent fewer than in 2001, and 21 HIV/AIDS, have we been at such a                 turing equipment is overdue, the newspaper
percent below the number of new promising moment to really turn this                said in a report published Saturday on its          J&J previously identified a potential alter-   drugmaker paid bribes to win overseas busi-      year. In April, healthcare giant Johnson &
infections at the peak of the epidem- epidemic around,” said MSF’s Tido             website. Ben Venue said it hopes to restore      native supplier for the drug, according to the    ness, according to The Wall Street Journal.      Johnson agreed to pay $70 million to settle
ic in 1997.                                von Schoen-Angerer.                      manufacturing at the site as soon as possible,   paper, but that transition would take an             Pfizer Inc will pay at least $60 million to   civil and criminal charges of bribing doctors
   “The big point for us is the num-          “Governments in some of the           the paper reported.                              extended period of time. J&J representatives      settle allegations by the US government that     in Europe and paying kickbacks to the Iraqi
                                                                                       Equipment failures at the same site led to    could not be immediately reached for com-
ber of new infections —that’s where hardest hit countries want to act on            a Doxil shortage earlier in the year and                                                           the drugmaker paid bribes to win overseas        government to illegally obtain business.
you win against the epidemic,” the science, seize this moment and                                                                    ment Sunday. (AP)                                 business, according to The Wall Street           Terms of the deal included J&J putting in
                                                                                    about 2,700 people are on a waiting list for                     ❑       ❑    ❑
Sidibe said.                               reverse the AIDS epidemic. But this      the drug, which treats a wide range of can-                                                        Journal. The paper, citing “people familiar      place a program to make sure it complies
   Medical charity Medecins Sans means nothing if there is no money                 cers including ovarian cancer, the paper said.   Pfizer to settle bribery probe: Pfizer            with the matter,” said in an article published   with anti-bribery laws across its businesses.
Frontieres (MSF) said the growing to make it happen.”                               US sales of the drug fell 87 percent during      Inc will pay at least $60 million to settle       to its website Sunday that settlements are          The charges were brought under the
                                                                                    the third quarter, according to the paper.       allegations by the US government that the         expected to be made public by the end of the     Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.(AP)

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