Mapping Pathways is a multi-national project to develop and nurture a research-driven, community-led global understanding of the emerging evidence base around the adoption of antiretroviral-based prevention strategies to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The evidence base is more than results from clinical trials - it must include stakeholder and community perspectives as well.

05 June 2012

Reuters: India Should Tax Air Tickets to Pay for AIDS Drugs - U.N.

via, by Nita Bhalla

Millions of the world's poorest people could have easier access to life-saving drugs if India introduces an air ticket tax to help fund purchases of cheap medicines for HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, a senior U.N. official said.

UNITAID, a U.N. agency which negotiates for cheap medicines from pharmaceutical manufacturers to treat deadly diseases, is lobbying countries such as India to join its air ticket levy initiative which began in 2006.

Under the program, countries put a nominal amount on the cost of air tickets which funds UNITAID to buy drugs for patients in the developing world. Ten countries have imposed the levy, generating $200 million annually for cheap medicine.

"What we want in India is a similar system by which a very small contribution which is painless to the traveler can be applied to large numbers of travelers," UNITAID Executive Director Denis Broun told AlertNet in an interview.

"Since air traffic is very high in India, the small amount of levy makes a huge difference to the amount of drugs that we can purchase and the number of poor who can benefit from them."

HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis kill 4.4 million people each year, UNITAID says. Approximately 14.2 million people are in need of anti-retroviral drugs globally, yet more than half cannot afford them.

India's airlines are reeling under a debt load of $20 billion and lost $2 billion last year, as high fuel prices, a weakening rupee and competition kept fares low and costs high.

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