The Common Good
October 2004

Serving Patients, not Patents

by Rose Marie Berger, Brian Bolton | October 2004

A nonprofit,

A nonprofit, Christian-owned pharmaceutical factory in India will offer HIV treatment drugs at cost to hospitals and health organizations in India, according to Ecumenical News International.

Recognizing the need for low-cost and high-quality drugs, Comprehensive Medical Services India has been refining its drug production process since 1988. Today they offer treatments for leprosy, heart conditions, tuberculosis, and other illnesses to those who serve the impoverished 35 percent of India’s population.

"Our target is the patient, and not the doctor or the hospital," Moses P. Manohar, director of the Inter-Church Service Association that administers the factory’s finances, told ENI.

Patent-protected HIV treatments can cost thousands of dollars per year for one person, making expense the primary factor prohibiting the treatment of an epidemic spreading fastest in poorer countries. Production of generic HIV drugs was hotly debated at the 2004 International AIDS Conference, reported the Associated Press, with protesters shouting, "Break the patents. Treat the people." As of October 2003, 5.1 million people in India were HIV positive.

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