Guyana Further Benefits From U.S` Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief

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CaribWorldNews, WASHINGTON, D.C., Thurs. Sept. 23, 2010:  The U.S. government has announced a new public-private partnership between the Government of Guyana and the U.S. President`s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to make safe pediatric HIV medications available faster in the country by expediting the drug registration process.

Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, made the announcement yesterday. The partnership includes the U.S. Government, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead Sciences, Inc., and the Partnership for Supply Chain Management.

Goosby said that through the Pre-approval Access for HIV/AIDS Therapies (PaATH) mechanism, the government of Guyana will grant provisional approval to pediatric HIV medicines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

These antiretroviral drugs will then be available for purchase and use in the South American nation while they await full approval through the Government of Guyana`s drug approval process.

In most countries, drug registration can be a long process. While the U.S. government has taken steps to `fast track` approval for antiretroviral drugs through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, slow registration processes and limited infrastructure in partner countries can be barriers to access to antiretroviral treatment and other life-saving drugs.

Variations from country to country in the drug registration process also result in delays to access. Access to pediatric antiretroviral treatment is further complicated by the fact that there are fewer formulations of antiretroviral drugs for children than there are for adults.

In Guyana, an estimated 18,000 people are living with HIV, and approximately six percent of these HIV infections are in children.

Recognizing the impact of HIV/AIDS in Guyana, the Government of Guyana says it has embraced the PaATH to further their country`s fight against the virus.

The PaATH was developed through a public-private partnership that brings together the U.S. Government, the pharmaceutical industry, and non-government organizations to promote scientific and technical discussions on solutions for pediatric HIV treatment, formulations and access.

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