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spacerIDEESE: Cases - Access to HIV Treatments in Developing Countries

The Access to HIV Treatments in Developing Countries Case Study includes a situation summary and seven appendices. THERE ARE A LOT OF READING MATERIALS. We do not expect instructors and students to read through all our resources. Instead, we expect instructors to assign the most appropriate appendices to their students according to their classroom goals. The remaining materials can be used as optional reading assignments for students who want to explore the subject matter in more depth or from a different angle.

Although the case study may be incorporated into your existing syllabi, IDEESE also offers teaching modules that help to focus the case on various dimensions of international ethics.

We also welcome feedback on our case materials. Please contact the Program Manager at mgoncalves @ pubpol . umass . edu with your comments or suggestions.



adobeCase-Situation Summary: This case is an in-depth study on the challenges faced by developing countries, where HIV is widely prevalent, in providing their citizens access to HIV medications.  Supplying consistent treatments of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) medications continue to be an obstacle due to its high costs in relation to individual income and government health budgets, and the strict patent laws governing them when attempting to domestically produce generics at a much lower price.  Other barriers such as lack of medical facilities, outlay of tests and availability of clinics, coupled with the social stigma of HIV and AIDS, prevent persons infected from seeking treatment. 


Case Contents: This file outlines the contents for the entire case study. It should serve as a cover page if all materials are printed out and act as a guide for instructors in choosing which appendices to assign.




Appendix A: Chronology: This appendix lists the chronological events from 1981 to 2016, relating to the identification and treatment of HIV/AIDS. It also includes developments in UN forums or agencies, developments in non-UN based multilateral or bilateral aid programs, and developments in World Trade Organization (WTO) relating to TRIPS (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Agreements.


Appendix B: Intergovernmental Policy Statements relating to HIV Treatment: The links provided on the first page of this appendix are websites to policy statements by Intergovernmental organizations, which will help form discussions on accessing HIV treatments in developing countries. The succeeding pages are supplementary documents on the Resolution adopted by the General Assembly, and the WTO General Council Implementation of the Doha Ministerial Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health.


Appendix C: Views on Intellectual Property Rights in Drugs: This appendix provides a list of resources to background information on the range of views regarding intellectual property rights and pharmaceutical patents. The supplementary articles are from the Economic and Social Council on Substantive Issues arising in the Implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights; the WTO 2006 Fact Sheet on TRIPS and Pharmaceutical Patents; and Merck's Public Policy Position on Compulsory Licensing.


Appendix D: Two Views on Drug Prices: The appendix contains two articles, one of which is on Fair Pricing Coalition Statement on Prices of new HIV Drugs, posted by a Paris-based group Actions Traitements, and the other is Merck's public policy statement on Charitable Product Donations.


Appendix E: Understanding Drug Patents: This appendix gives an in-depth analysis on the ethical concerns that Patent systems generally raise: 1.) the legitimacy of creating private property rights; 2.) the distributive effects of permitting private property rights; and 3.) efficiency as a legitimate concern. Overall, in any given situation where the need to access newly-developed medicines become essential to treating a widespread disease, a strong political pressure to abolish, restrict, or break patents will occur.


Appendix F: Useful Websites: The appendix provides additional resources to further information on HIV and AIDS, provisions on HIV treatments, international programs financing purchases of HIV treatments, AIDS activist groups, and drug companies who are prominent suppliers of HIV treatments.


Appendix G: Pharmaceutical Companies: This appendix lists the 12 largest Pharmaceutical companies according to their financial status, and a directory of other pharmaceutical companies in existence worldwide.



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All IDEESE Case Study Materials are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.



Funding for the International Dimensions of Ethics Education in Science and Engineering Project comes from the National Science Foundation through grant number 0734887. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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