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UK critical of costly new AIDS drugs

The UK has for the first time reacted to the high cost and poor availability of newer antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) in developing nations.

British Minister for International Policy on HIV/AIDS, Gareth Thomas, expressed concern over the difficulties in accessing the more advanced treatments.

"Resistance to first-line drugs is inevitable. Second-line ARVs can cost more than 10 times that of first-line treatment. [We] will continue to push pharmaceutical companies to help reduce these costs ... so that it is the norm for essential medicines to be cheaper in these countries," British newspaper, The Guardian, quoted Thomas as saying.

Noting that 570,000 children under 15 died of an AIDS-related illness last year, Thomas also called for wider availability of paediatric drug formulations.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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