AIDS drug delay condemned

Issue 

AIDS drug delay condemned

SYDNEY — A community meeting of more than 100 people on January 17 unanimously condemned federal health minister Carmen Lawrence for "inexcusable delay" in approving funding for an effective AIDS treatment drug, Rifabutin.

Approval for the drug was obtained last June by the Australian Drug Evaluation Committee, but Health Department delays in approving funding for its use have prevented it becoming available. Rifabutin prevents and treats the debilitating opportunistic infection MAC, common among people with AIDS.

The meeting was called by the AIDS Council of NSW (ACON) and People Living With HIV/AIDS. It also criticised drug manufacturer Syntex for refusing to supply another drug, oral gancyclovir, under the Special Access Scheme to people going blind as a result of CMV retinitis, another common disease among people with AIDS.

The meeting resolved that a coalition of organisations would continue to fight for better access to funding for new drugs to treat people with HIV/AIDS. Their next meeting will be held on January 31 at ACON.

If you like our work, become a supporter

Green Left is a vital social-change project and aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. With no corporate sponsors or advertising, we rely on support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month get the Green Left digital edition in your inbox each week. For $10 per month get the above and the print edition delivered to your door. You can also add a donation to your support by choosing the solidarity option of $20 per month.

Freecall now on 1800 634 206 or follow the support link below to make a secure supporter payment or donation online.