The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria held its fourth fundraising meeting, or “voluntary replenishment,” in Washington, DC last week. Hosted by the United States government, the meeting convened world leaders, philanthropists, luminaries and heads of private-sector outfits to pledge financial contributions to the fund to support its work over the next three years.
The headlines coming out of the meeting have mostly focused on the $12 billion in pledges raised, including President Obama’s commitment to contribute up to $5 billion as long as other donors match it with $10 billion (see here and here). The amount raised was short of the $15 billion the Global Fund has said it needs at a minimum to support programs for the next three years. The fund will of course keep working to raise an additional $3 billion, but the uncertain availability of these additional resources will make planning and execution more challenging for those responsible for implementing HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria control programs.
Regardless of the total funding ultimately raised, these new resources will be used to provide free HIV, malaria and tuberculosis treatment to millions of people across dozens of low- and middle-income countries.
But what about the quality of those medicines?
After the donors made their public pledge announcements, the Global Fund and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) made a slightly less reported but equally important announcement: that they have entered into an agreement to conduct advocacy and awareness raising, research, and capacity building to better protect patients from being exposed to fake medicines.
Details about the agreement will follow in the coming months, but the agreement builds on the work of a new campaign called Fight The Fakes (www.fightthefakes.org), of which the Global Fund and IFPMA are both members along with eight other organizational partners including the International Council of Nurses, the World Medical Association, the U.S. Pharmacopeia Convention and others.
With such influential organizations putting their brands behind the push against fake drugs, perhaps this new partnership will bring the goal of securing an international treaty against fake and substandard pharmaceuticals a little closer within reach.