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[e-drug] MSF: Paediatric AIDS Data

E-DRUG: MSF: Paediatric AIDS Data

New Paediatric AIDS Treatment Data Show Good Clinical Results But Sub-optimal 
Virological Outcomes

Urgent need to get existing paediatric formulations to children who need them

Sydney, 24 July, 2007 'New paediatric treatment data presented by the
international medical humanitarian organization Medecins Sans Frontieres
(MSF) at the 4th International AIDS Society conference in Sydney
demonstrate good clinical results but sub-optimal virological outcomes. The
results confirm concerns about the effectiveness of treating children
without access to appropriate and adapted paediatric AIDS drug

MSF presented data on virological, pharmacological and adherence outcomes
for a cohort of children in rural Uganda at 12 and 24 months on treatment.
The probability of remaining alive and in care was good, with 91% and 86%
on treatment at six months and 12 months, respectively. However, viral load
results, which are a strong predictor of long-term survival, were not as
encouraging.   A viral load of below 400 copies was achieved in only 59% of
children after 12 months and 33% after 24 months.  Of children identified
with a high viral load (over 1000 copies), 85% showed resistance to one or
more of the commonly-used first-line antiretroviral drugs.

'Our treatment outcomes in children are a reflection of how difficult it
has been to treat children with drugs that aren't designed for them,' said
Dr. Myrto Schaefer, Paediatric HIV/AIDS Advisor for MSF.  'Because
appropriate formulations have not been available for children, we've had to
treat them by cutting adult tablets in two, or give them syrups that are
hard to measure and swallow.  This approximate method of dosing and
administration may be what is contributing to the less-than-ideal
virological outcomes we are finding.'

Over one year ago, several generic manufacturers launched the first
fixed-dose combination tablets for children.  These three-in-one pills make
dosing easier and more accurate.  While WHO has endorsed the use of these
existing formulations, it still has not listed any of these products in
their prequalification program.  This has the practical effect that
children across the developing world do not have access to these products.
Because of these delays, MSF has internally validated the use of the
paediatric fixed-dose combinations for use in its projects.

'WHO has been moving far too slowly on paediatric AIDS drugs,' said Karen
Day, pharmacist with MSF's Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines.  'It
is unacceptable that now that these products finally exist, WHO is not
doing what is necessary to approve the drugs they recommend so that they
become more widely available.  Children have had to wait five years longer
than adults for a three-in-one AIDS drug, and they shouldn't have to wait
any longer.'

MSF is currently treating 100,000 patients with HIV/AIDS in more than 30
countries, 7,000 of whom are children. MSF has been caring for people
living with HIV/AIDS in developing countries since the mid 1990s, and first
began providing antiretroviral treatment in 2000 in Thailand and South

Sheila Shettle:   043.943.2436 or  +
James Nichols:    040.752.5700

Sheila Shettle
Senior Communications Officer
Medecins Sans Frontieres
Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines
Rue de Lausanne 78
1211 Geneva, Switzerland
+ 41.22.849.8403
+ (m.)

Millions of people around the world today rely on affordable medicines
produced in India.  Pharmaceutical company Novartis is taking the Indian
government to court to force a change in the country's patent law.  If
Novartis wins, a major source of affordable medicines for millions of
people across the globe could dry up.

MSF is urging Novartis to DROP THE CASE.

Find out more and sign up to our petition:

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