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TAGline 2016

NEWS ON THE FIGHT TO END HIV/AIDS, VIRAL HEPATITIS, AND TUBERCULOSIS

TAGline Fall 2016

HEALTH, HUMAN RIGHTS, and SOCIAL JUSTICE

By Tim Horn

Maximizing HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and viral hepatitis outcomes depends on the availability of state-of-the-art diagnostic and prognostic tools, engagement in expert and supportive care, and access to safe and effective drugs. Numerous technical barriers to these core components of health and survival exist, such as failures to maintain or improve healthcare infrastructure and capacity building, inadequate funding commitments, bureaucracy and corruption, and corporate rapacity, all of which are priorities for Treatment Action Group and its advocacy partners.

But it’s not simply about advancing good global health policies. It’s also about pushing for good global policies for health, notably those that take aim at the larger social, political, and economic conditions that exacerbate disparities and inequities among those living with, and at risk for, HIV, TB, and viral hepatitis. In this issue of TAGline, several TAG staff members call out some of the most critical social and structural challenges that we continue to face in ending these pandemics.

TAGline Spring 2016 

Download: this issue of TAGline as a PDF

Fair Pricing: Reclaiming Drugs for the Common Good
By Tim Horn

The way I see it, you can go down in history as the poster boy for greedy drug-company executives, or you can change the system—yeah, you.
—U.S. Representative Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD)

With these words, directed at execrated former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill this February, ranking member Elijah E. Cummings drew attention to a serious culpability problem that continues to dominate public discourse on the egregious pricing of prescription drugs in this country. The hearing was political theater at its most compelling, and Shkreli, smug, snide, and intransigent in his refusal to answer questions from committee members, was ideally cast in the role of villain. But to suggest that Shkreli and other pharmaceutical executives bear the sole responsibility for actually changing the system—a hodgepodge of laws, regulations, and loopholes underscoring health care as a commodity and unregulated profits as a free-market right of the prescription drug industry—misses the mark entirely.

Greed and the Necessity for Regulation
The story of U.S. drug pricing run amok isn’t just about corporate arrogance and avarice—it is also about government permissiveness and inaction

By Tim Horn, Erica Lessem, and Kenyon Farrow

PrEP Pricing Problems
A number of barriers to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake, use, and adherence have been identified—cost shouldn’t be one of them
By James Krellenstein and Jeremiah Johnson

The Low Cost of Universal Access
Generic treatments for HIV, viral hepatitis, and cancer can be affordably—and profitably—mass-produced for broad, unobstructed availability

By Tracy Swan