A generic drug is an identical copy (bioequivalent) of a brand name (or proprietary) drug. Generics are exactly the same as their branded counterparts in dosage form, safety, strength, route of administration, quality, performance characteristics and intended use. The notable difference between the two is the price.
While this week’s ruling concerns a leukaemia drug, its principle can be extended to treatments for HIV and AIDS medicines.
The competition amongst generic manufacturers, consciousness-raising among global health advocates and close collaboration with pharmaceutical companies have resulted in falling prices, which have put medicines – especially specific treatments for HIV and AIDS – into the reach of many millions more people in poorer regions.
Many of the social and economic barriers that stand in the way of effective HIV prevention, treatment, support and care for people living with HIV are the same barriers that impede access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health programs and services. For instance, the circumstances that can lead to unintended pregnancies can also lead to infection with HIV and other STIs. Sex is the common denominator. In societies where cultural and gender norms tightly restrict the sexual and reproductive lives and choices of women and men, the risk for both unintended pregnancy and HIV infection is greatest.