Millions in Africa and the rest of the developing world suffer from HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. What is the best way to treat them? Since President George W. Bush's pledge of $15 billion to fight these diseases, controversy has developed over strategies and methods. Last month at a conference in Botswana, delegates wrestled with the issue of fixed-dose combinations of anti-retroviral drugs, which have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration but were "pre-qualified" by the World Health Organization. Are such drugs safe? Or does their use risk the development of new resistant strains of HIV? Activists have accused drug companies, with the support of the Bush administration, of trying to block the use of cheaper generics, but new research indicates that only a small fraction of drugs in the developing world is patented. This conference will focus on ways that policymakers should confront the obstacles to treating pandemic diseases in the developing world.
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