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Call for AIDS drugs adapted to children

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Children with HIV are dying needlessly because of a lack of suitable drugs and the high cost of medicines adapted to their needs, the humanitarian organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said.

In a statement coinciding with a paediatric AIDS summit organized by the World Health Organization (news – web sites) and UNICEF (news – web sites) in Geneva, MSF said international and drug companies should put pressure on pharmaceutical companies to make doses specially adapted to children.Daniel Berman, coordinator of MSF’s campaign for access to essential medicines, said the pharmaceutical companies have no commercial interest in providing specialized drugs, because children in developed countries are rarely born with AIDS, while developing nations do not have the means to buy the drugs.He estimated it cost 1,300 dollars (1,000 euros) to treat a child with specialized medicines compared to 200 dollars for adults, who can now take a double combination pill twice a day.”To really make an impact, international organizations and national programmes will need to work proactively with governments and drug companies to overcome the lack of commercial interest in AIDS drugs for children,” Berman said.In the meantime, medical staff have to improvise.”I try to show caregivers such as grandparents how to crush and break adult tablets, hoping that the children will get the doses they need,” said Dr Koen Frederix, a paediatrician working for MSF in Malawi.”Small children can’t swallow tablets so they have to use different syrups in different quantities, which complicates treatment.”More than 2.5 million children were estimated to be infected with HIV/AIDS in 2003, predominantly in sub-Saharan Africa. In the same year, MSF said, 700,000 children under the age of 15 were newly infected with HIV/AIDS.Approximately 50 percent of children with HIV/AIDS die before the age of two, the organization added. (Source: Yahoo health, Associated Press, Nov 2004)

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Posted On: 4 November, 2004
Modified On: 4 December, 2013

Created by: myVMC