Health GAP (Global Access Project)
For Release: 13 July 2004
Contact: Robert DABNEY +66 (0)5 08 86 113
US GOVT. ACCOUNTING OFFICE TO WHITE HOUSE:
BUSH REQUIREMENTS FOR BIG PHARMA DRUGS OBSTRUCTS POOR COUNTRY
EFFORTS TO TREAT AIDS.
(Bangkok) - The non-partisan U.S. Congressional agency charged with
maintaining the accountability of government programs delivered a simple
message to President George Bush this week: the President's Emergency Plan
for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is not delivering on its promises.
The release of the report of the Government Accountability Office (GAO), was
timed to coincide with the XV International AIDS Conference in Bangkok and
described a series of internal problems plaguing the $15 billion (US)
program. The report on PEPFAR, the Bush program targeting 2 million people
for ARhV treatment in 15 countries, described a program rife with
administrative chaos and riddled with restrictions that have crippled
The GAO interviewed 28 field staff from two government agencies responsible
for on-the-ground implementation of the president's plan. The staffs from
the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of
Health and Human Services (DHHS) were asked to identify the challenges they
faced in getting help to people living with HIV/AIDS in the targeted areas.
Of the 28 staff interviewed, 25 cited policy constraints imposed by PEPFAR
in the procurement of affordable generic drugs as a major limitation on the
treatment scale-up efforts in developing countries.
"Bush is selling compassion to American voters this election year, but the
real agenda of the White House has been to create a slush-fund for US drug
companies," said Paul Davis, domestic policy director for the U.S.-based
advocacy group Health GAP (Global Access Project). "The Administration must
immediately pledge $30 billion for global AIDS by 2008 and lift the
ideological restrictions on the use of affordable generics and condom
"A pattern is developing during this conference," continued Davis. "The U.S.
government's own watchdog group says the Bush program is not working.
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan says the program is not working.
Scientists, fund recipients and activists say the program is not working.
Its time for the President to admit what is clear to the world. PEPFAR is