Zimbabwe Lifts Import Restrictions On HIV/AIDS Drugs
Read on for the implications of this emergency action.
The following appears with permission from UN Wire, Copyright, National Journal Group, May 29, 2002: For further information click here
Zimbabwe's Justice Ministry has invoked emergency powers and officially lifted import restrictions on drugs for HIV/AIDS treatment, allowing generic forms to enter the country without lengthy testing and registration procedures. The emergency action, announced Monday, is to be in place for six months.
Zimbabwe has one of the world's highest HIV rates, with a quarter of all adults infected. The death rate in the country from AIDS is more than 2,000 per week. Official statistics show life expectancy in Zimbabwe has dropped from 60 to 40 because of the pandemic (Associated Press, May 28).
"In view of the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS among the population of Zimbabwe, the minister hereby declares an emergency for a period of six months, with effect from the promulgation of this notice for the purpose of enabling the state or a person authorized ... to make or use any patented drug," Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said in a published notice.
Zimbabwe already permits the use, since last year, of anti-retrovirals, especially for HIV-infected pregnant women (Reuters/CNN.com, May 27).