Clinton Urges Help for Kids With AIDS

Monday, February 20th 2006, 10:24 am
By: News On 6

PANAJI, India (AP) _ Former President Clinton urged governments and public foundations Saturday to buy anti-AIDS drugs from low-cost manufacturers so more children can receive treatment for the disease.

Clinton, who is on a private visit to India, said last month that Cipla and three other Indian pharmaceuticals would offer antiretroviral drugs at prices up to 30 percent cheaper than the current market rate.

The former president, who toured the manufacturing unit of Cipla in Goa in southwestern India, said Saturday if foundations and governments bought drugs from low cost manufacturers they would be able to reach more children infected with HIV.

Since his Clinton Foundation's 2002 HIV/AIDS initiative began, the foundation has concentrated on making affordable drugs available, buying second line AIDS drugs from generic drug makers for 21 countries in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, he said.

Clinton said his foundation planned to get anti-AIDS drugs to 60,000 children in the worst-affected countries this year.

Working with low-cost manufacturers has allowed the foundation to spend ``wisely and be more cost effective,'' said Clinton, who has made AIDS a focus of his post-presidential life,

``We've had a three year partnership with Cipla, and because of them an enormous number of HIV/AIDS-infected people are alive,'' he said.

India has 5.13 million cases of the illness, the second largest number of people infected with HIV after South Africa. The Indian government claims its anti-AIDS campaign has stabilized the epidemic and says there has been a sharp decline in the number of new HIV cases.