The US government has increased its spending onless-costly generic medicines to help fight AIDS inpoorer countries around the world. US regulatorshave determined that generics will account for 70% ofAIDS drugs in 3 key countries being assisted by theUnited States through the President's Emergency Planfor AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Last year, only 11% of all AIDS drugs for all15 countries enrolled in the program were generics.
US officials hesitated to use more generic medications becausethey wanted each one to be safety tested by the FDA. AmbassadorMark R. Dybul, head of PEPFAR, stated that the government "alwayshas wanted the lowest-cost product [for the program], as long as itwas safe and effective." In the past 12 months, the FDA approved29 generic AIDS medications, including 8 formulations for children.Officials estimate that the overall switch to generics will result in a20% cost reduction for the program. Dybul said that 14 of the 15participating countries are now buying generics, and the last one isin negotiations for generic purchasing.