An aids patient holding drugs provided through the Thai government treatment program. Credit: Tom Greenwood/Oxfam
"The new drugs are expensive. People on my income can't afford to buy them." – Irsa

Access to affordable generic ARV drugs

Oxfam seeks to ensure that there is access to affordable antiretrovirals (ARV) medicines worldwide to those who need them.

A lot has been done by governments and institutions to make sure 1st Line ARVs are affordable, but as HIV positive people become resistant to these drugs, or cannot afford them, 2nd line ARVs are needed. These are still far too expensive for developing countries and poor men and women to buy.

Oxfam is urging rich countries to support the production and distribution of inexpensive generic medicines that the poorest people can afford.

Thailand is home to around 800,000 people living with HIV. Medicines to help treat those with the virus can cost as much as double the average Thai person's monthly salary.

"The new drugs are expensive. People on my income can't afford to buy them. I get depressed and stressed when I think about it. I have no choice, I want to survive. I need these drugs." 

- Irsa (not his real name).

With support from the government, the Thai pharmaceutical industry has been succesful in combatting this global challenge by producing cheap generic ARVs.

Pressure needs to be put on governments, pharmaceutical companies and the EU to ensure patient needs come before drug patents and profits – so that all people living with HIV and AIDS will have access to affordable medicine and treatment in a long term.