PNG refused further AIDS drugs

Rowan Callick; 24/2/10

The global Fund, founded by Bill and Melinda Gates, which provides the drugs keeping 7000 Papua New Guinean AIDS sufferers alive, has rejected the latest PNG request for funding. Michel Kazatchkine, the fund’s executive director, said yesterday that during a visit to Australia this week he had been pressed strongly to review the decision. But he said the fund, which supplies about half the antiretroviral drugs used in the developing world, can approve fewer than half the AIDS submissions it receives. The fund was established eight years ago to combat tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS. Since then, it has raised $24.5 billion, 95 per cent from governments and the rest from business, including $111 million a year from the Gates Foundation established by the Microsoft founder. PNG has spent about $67m of the $111m it has secured from the fund, and the remainder will enable the AIDS sufferers registered by August 31 last year to continue to receive life-saving drugs for another two years.