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February 19, 2007  

CONTACTS:
Frank Pietrucha: (202) 543-6750; frank@definitive-communications.com
Shauna Eisenberg: (202) 994-0966; shauna@gwu.edu
Claire Duggan: (202) 994-0616; cduggan@law.gwu.edu
Matt Lindsay: (202) 994-1423; mlindsay@gwu.edu

GW REPORT URGES WEALTHY COUNTRIES AND COMPANIES TO HELP AFRICANS DEVELOP "SOCIAL CONTRACT" TO COMBAT AIDS CRISIS

Study Makes 11 Suggestions on the Ethical Responsibilities of Organizational Knowledge Regarding Antiretroviral Drug Innovation and Access

WASHINGTON -- A report released today by The George Washington University Law School's Creative and Innovative Economy Center (CIEC) outlines recommendations to ameliorate the growing AIDS crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa. The report was presented at a CIEC-hosted event in Geneva, Switzerland, for delegates attending the Development Agenda meetings at the World Intellectual Property Organization.

CIEC Director Michael P. Ryan and his team carried out field research in three African countries - Burkina Faso, Botswana, and Uganda - to study how access and treatment programs are being delivered. Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs can dramatically slow the progression of AIDS, but only if these drugs are made available at the medically appropriate dosages to HIV positive people. Twenty-six million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are HIV positive. The study notes that they and millions more will die of AIDS during the next 20 years absent massive, sustained, and organized intervention.

"AIDS activists declare that the drug companies must take immediate action to stem the crisis," observed Ryan. "But drug company leaders assert that African governments are responsible for the health of their peoples. This report asks who is responsible to do what and why regarding antiretroviral drug innovation and access in Africa."

"A social contract challenges wealthy countries and the drug companies to work more effectively with the governments of Sub-Saharan Africa," Ryan continued. "The burden of this crisis needs to be shared by all of the stakeholders." Ryan and his researchers identified 11 recommendations critical to defeating the pandemic:

1. Wealthy countries should invest in basic medical science in African countries;
2. African governments should provide patent rights to encourage private drug development;
3. ARV drug innovators should teach about their ARV therapies;
4. ARV drug innovators should license production to developing country manufacturers;
5. ARV drug innovators should transfer manufacturing technology;
6. ARV drug innovators should donate and discount drugs by development level;
7. ARV drug innovators should teach about drug distribution and logistics;
8. Wealthy country governments should provide aid regarding ARV treatment;
9. The World Health Organization should ensure that all ARV suppliers meet Good Manufacturing Practices;
10. All African employers should try to provide ARV drug treatment; and
11. African governments should coordinate public-private partnerships.

"There are no quick fixes to this health crisis," warned Ryan.  "Each government must articulate comprehensive strategies and recruit partners with know-how and financial resources who are committed to sustaining programs over many years." 

A copy of The AIDS Social Contract in Africa: On the Ethical Responsibilities of Organizational Knowledge Regarding Antiretroviral Drug Innovation and Access is available online at the CIEC?s Web site, www.law.gwu.edu/ciec.

The CIEC conducts research and educational activities that encourage developing nations to embrace creativity and innovation as tools to compete more effectively in the world economy. Stressing a multi-disciplinary approach, the center examines legal, commercial, institutional, and globalization issues pertaining to economic development. Programs will be conducted at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in Europe at the Munich Intellectual Property Law Center, and in developing countries around the world.

For more information about CIEC visit www.law.gwu.edu/ciec.
For more news about GW, visit the GW News Center at
www.gwnewscenter.org.

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