Firms Urged to Allow Cheap Drugs in AIDS Fight

NAIROBI, Kenya, SEPT. 25, 2003 ( Nairobi’s archbishop appealed to pharmaceutical companies to reconsider their opposition to cheap anti-retroviral drugs used in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

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Archbishop Raphael Ndingi Mwana’a Nzeki said he regretted that many lives were being lost due to lack of access to essential drugs, while multinational companies tighten their control of these drugs, the Catholic Information Service for Africa reported.

Archbishop Mwana’a Nzeki was presiding at a solemn Mass on Monday at Nairobi’s Holy Family Basilica, on the occasion of the 13th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections, under way in Kenya’s capital.

“The pharmaceutical organizations must not wait until our people are wiped out before they come running with their aid,” the archbishop said. “It will be too late.”

He also pleaded with the rich nations to support the efforts of the poor nations in combating the scourge “which seems to have a prevalence in the poor countries.”

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