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The Political Economy of HIV/AIDS in Developing Countries

The Political Economy of HIV/AIDS in Developing Countries

TRIPS, Public Health Systems and Free Access

Edited by Benjamin Coriat

The book is based on original data and field studies from Brazil, Thailand, India and Sub-Saharan Africa. Focusing on the issue of universal and free access to treatment (a goal now taken to heart by the international community), it assesses the progress made and presents a rigorous diagnosis of the obstacles that remain, especially the constraints imposed by TRIPS and the poor state of most public health systems in Southern countries. In so doing, the book renews our understanding of the political economy of HIV/AIDS in these vast regions, where it continues to spread with devastating social and economic consequences.

Introduction: A New Stage in the Fight Against the HIV/AIDS Pandemic – An Economic Perspective

Benjamin Coriat

Subjects: development studies, development economics, law and development, economics and finance, development economics, health policy and economics, international economics, political economy, law - academic, law and development, politics and public policy, political economy, social policy and sociology, health policy and economics


Introduction: a new stage in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic – an economic perspective Benjamin Coriat For the actors involved in the fight against AIDS, as well as for observers and analysts, it is now clear that with the new millennium we also entered a new stage in the fight against AIDS. In many aspects – and often decisive ones – we are facing an entirely new situation. To put it succinctly: while the core issue, after the development of the first tritherapies (in 1996–97), still revolved around the question of whether these drugs could be considered cost-effective enough to be recommended for treating patients in the southern countries,1 now the central issue is the extension of universal and free access on a global scale. Admittedly, we are still very far from establishing all the necessary conditions to attain this objective, but the important thing is that this objective has been defined and adopted. After many initiatives and debates,2 the decisive step was taken in 2006. In June of that year, on the occasion of the General Assembly HighLevel Meeting on HIV/AIDS, the WHO member states made a joint declaration wherein they set the objective of promoting universal access by 2010. The G8 summit at Gleneagles, following on from previous declarations and commitments, went even further. If universal access was to be achieved by 2010, it would have to be ‘free of charge’.3 A few figures may help us to appreciate the scale of the challenge taken...