ARAB TIMES, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2011
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
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”
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)