AIDS air ticket tax should benefit kids: France

28th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

MOSCOW, April 28, 2006 (AFP) - France proposed here Friday that its scheme for a tax on air tickets to finance the fight against AIDS should be focused particularly on helping children suffering from the disease.

MOSCOW, April 28, 2006 (AFP) - France proposed here Friday that its scheme for a tax on air tickets to finance the fight against AIDS should be focused particularly on helping children suffering from the disease.

Speaking on the sidelines of a Moscow meeting of the world's eight leading industrial nations (G8), French junior Social Security Minister Philippe Bas said:

"I asked during the meeting that we should discuss problems special to child health, particularly AIDS."

"The French initiative to create an international facility for access to drugs provided by a tax on airline tickets will be dedicated primarily to giving children suffering from AIDS access to pediatric drugs," he told AFP.

The initiative to use taxes levied on airline tickets to help fund the battle against AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis is the brainchild of France and Brazil.

The initiative aims to use the funds it gathers to run a central medicine buying facility that would enable cheaper and easier access to drugs.

"At present HIV-positive children are being provided only with a share of the drugs used for adults, clearly a big handicap in treating children," Bas said.

The official also suggested that other revenue from airline ticket taxes could be used for so-called second line antiretroviral drugs.

Antiretroviral treatment (ART), the main type of treatment for HIV or AIDS, consists of drugs which work by slowing down the replication of HIV in the body.

"In treating patients with antiretrovirals, there are first line drugs which remain effective for some years but later the development of the illness renders them less effective and the treatment has to be continued with second line antiretrovirals," said Bas.

"The price of antiretrovirals has already come down a great deal but that's not true of second line antiretrovirals."

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that a particular combination of antiretroviral drugs is chosen to be provided for everyone to take when they start treatment.

This is sometimes called the "first line regimen".

For those who need to change later from this first choice of drugs, there should be a second choice of drugs selected which is known as the "second line regimen".

With an annual projected revenue of EUR 200 million from the new French tax to come into force in July, it would be possible to provide some 1.3 million HIV-positive patients with antiretroviral drugs.

The latest G8 meeting starting Friday brought together health ministers of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States, together with counterparts from Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa to discuss cooperation in fighting infectious diseases.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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