Paying the Price (2001)

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    United Kingdom

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Twenty-fourth programme in the second series of `Life' programmes, focusing on the impact of globalisation on the urban environment. Focuses on the story of 14-year old Vincent, who is being treated for cryptoccocal meningitis contracted as a result of AIDS, in a Ugandan hospital in the capital of Kampala. Millions of AIDS orphans across Africa are at risk unless life-saving antiretroviral drugs become cheaper and more widely available. The fight for affordable drugs in Africa made world headlines in 2000 when a consortium of 42 pharmaceutical companies took the South African government to court over its right to import or manufacture generic drugs to treat AIDS sufferers. After a global campaign by activist groups, the consortium withdrew the case in April 2001. Even before the court case outcome, the companies had begun reducing the prices of their patented drugs as part of the `Accelerating Access' initiative brokered by UNAIDS to provide cut-price drugs and training to selected African countries, including Uganda. Investigates the background to AIDS treatment in Africa, reports on the success of the Uganda programme, and questions why, with the highest rates of HIV infection in the world, the South African government is still refusing to authorise a national programme of treatment for HIV/AIDS sufferers. People featured include Dr Peter Mugyenyi of the Joint Clinical Research Centre in Kampala.

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