Protester at the Say it loud! march in Washington. Image by Greta Hughson/aidsmap.com
Patents and intellectual property rights are still restricting access to antiretroviral therapy in middle- and low-income countries, the Washington conference was told.
The roll-out of antiretroviral therapy in poorer countries has been made possible in part due to the development of cheaper, generic formulations of a number of key anti-HIV drugs.
However, the maintenance of intellectual property rights means that medications needed for second- and third-line treatment remain prohibitively expensive. The conference also heard of the especially high cost of treatment for some middle-income countries.
Speakers at the session recommended that efforts were made to challenge patent applications to ensure access to treatment takes priority.