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Donors pledge to UNITAID

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Donors pledge to UNITAID in renewed effort to provide sustainable, predictable funding for access to treatment

Geneva, 12 November 2010 — UNITAID's main donor country, France, has pledged a yearly sum of USD 150 million (EUROS 110 million) for the next three years in a bid to strengthen the agency's capacity to continue to impact on medicines markets for better patient access. The Republic of Korea also made a firm pledge, committing USD 7 million to UNITAID for 2011. The Brazilian delegate advanced his government's intention of providing USD 11 million for 2011.
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Philippe Douste-Blazy re-elected as Chair of UNITAID

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PHILIPPE DOUSTE-BLAZY REELECTED AS CHAIR OF UNITAID - promises to promote innovative financing to world's leaders

Geneva, 11 November 2010 — The UNITAID Executive Board today unanimously re-elected Philippe Douste-Blazy as Chair of UNITAID for another two years. In his acceptance speech, Mr Douste-Blazy stated that he would double his efforts to ensure that globalisation work for the poor through UNITAID's specific focus on shaping markets for patient treatments in developing countries.

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The Medicines Patent Pool is Moving

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As of November 1, 2010, the Medicines Patent Pool has transitioned out of UNITAID, and is functioning as a separate legal entity. UNITAID continues to support the Medicines Patent Pool and is funding its operations under a five-year Memorandum of Understanding. The Pool is an integral part of UNITAID's market impact strategy, which aims to promote the availability of affordable and adapted medicines for people in developing countries.

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Innovative financing for the MDGs

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The Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development held a high Level Side Event at the MDG Summit in New York - "Innovative Financing for the MDG's" - on 21 September.

Among the key speakers were the Queen of Jordan, Foreign Ministers of Japan, France, Spain, Minister for Development Cooperation of Norway and Belgium, Philippe Douste-Blazy (Chair of UNITAID and UN Special Adviser on Innovative Financing for Development), the European Commissioner for Development, the OECD Secretary General.

The UNITAID Executive Secretary, Jorge Bermudez, presented the case for innovative financing by highlighting UNITAID's results in its four years of existence at a round table on innovative financing for health, which also featured the heads of GAVI and the Global Fund.

Philippe Douste-Blazy expressed the need for a UN resolution on innovative financing for development, so as to rally higher political support and generate a step-change in thinking.

A common theme that emerged from presentations was the focus not just on innovative ways of raising additional funds but also on innovative spending. UNITAID, in particular, has a good track record in this as it seeks to shape the health commodities market for sustainable access in developing countries, and has created the first ever medicines patent pool.

Also of note, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and FAO have now joined the Leading Group.

The next Leading Group meeting will be held in Tokyo on 16-17 December 2010.

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MDG Summit - New York, 20-22 September 2010

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Following on a proposal by the UN Secretary-General, the General Assembly will convene a summit on 20-22 September on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with the primary objective to accelerate progress towards the MDGs by 2015.

The MDGs were originally adopted in 2000 and incorporate key goals and targets of the broader development agenda, agreed upon by world leaders and other stakeholders at different UN Summits and Conferences.

Three of the MDGs are health-related - Goal 4 (children's health), Goal 5 (women's health) and Goal 6 (halt AIDS, TB and other infectious diseases). UNITAID works to contribute to all three of these goals by providing quality treatment for HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB, with particular attention to women and children. In addition, UNITAID contributes to Goal 8 (global partnerships) by engaging the pharmaceutical industry to collaborate to increase access to medicines.

UNITAID also represents one of the first innovative financing mechanisms set up to help achieve the MDGs by providing additional funding for health and by spending those funds in innovative, cost-effective ways.

The Chair of UNITAID, Philippe Douste-Blazy, is also Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on Innovative Financing for Development.

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India's central role in AIDS medicines supply could be threatened by trade agreements,new study says

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Geneva, 14 September 2010 A new study to be published today reveals that Indian generic manufacturers have supplied more than 80% of donor-funded AIDS medicines to developing countries in the last seven years.  However, it warns that upcoming trade agreements India is currently negotiating may close the tap on affordable medicines for AIDS patients.  The news coincides with a global funding crisis in the area of AIDS while at the same time new clinical evidence demonstrates that greater investments are needed to address the disease.