TRIPS, Public Health Systems and Free Access
Edited by Benjamin Coriat
Introduction: A New Stage in the Fight Against the HIV/AIDS Pandemic – An Economic Perspective
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...