2005-08-18-Economic Development Best Weapon Against HIV/AIDS in Africa

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2005-08-18-Economic Development Best Weapon Against HIV/AIDS in Africa

 

Economic development is the best "antidote" for Africa's HIV/AIDS epidemic because the infrastructure needed to prevent and cure the disease is "pitifully lacking" on the continent, James Glassman, an... American Enterprise Institute fellow, writes in a Manchester Union Leader opinion piece.

Creating infrastructure and promoting economic development on the continent will take "decades," Glassman says, adding that Africa therefore needs "emergency help" to combat disease and corruption. However, "publicity-seekers, thieves and ideologues ... are damaging the overall effort" to curb the spread of HIV and eradicate poverty, Glassman writes. For example, the Clinton Foundation's announcement that it had negotiated with pharmaceutical companies to reduce the price of antiretroviral drugs in Africa is a "cruel hoax" because the offer has "rigid unpublicized conditions" that were never met, according to Glassman.

He adds that the World Health Organization encourages the use of generic antiretrovirals despite concerns that the medicines are no less expensive than patented versions and might promote drug resistance.

In addition, Brazil's recent efforts to break the patents on some antiretrovirals have discouraged many pharmaceutical companies from producing HIV/AIDS drugs, according to Glassman. "The tragedy of AIDS in Africa is that even absent prosperity, the disease could be controlled -- with honesty, integrity, and faith in sound science and economic incentives," Glassman writes, concluding, "[W]ith Clinton and the WHO, with Brazilian and African kleptocrats in the mix, I despair of a solution any time soon" (Glassman, Manchester Union Leader, 8/17).

 


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