The unregulated supply of AIDS drugs in the developing world could accelerate the development of drug-resistant HIV strains, according to an expert at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom.
Better regulation of private-sector providers of drugs in poor nations is needed to ensure that patients use antiretroviral drugs correctly, thereby reducing the risk that a strain of drug-resistant HIV will develop.
Writing in this week's British Medical Journal, Ruairí Brugha says that because of the stigma associated with sexually transmitted diseases, most people with HIV in poor countries turn to private doctors and unlicensed drug vendors to obtain treatment.
But most of these private providers are not regulated. "Donors need to be more active in helping countries to fulfil their stewardship responsibilities in setting, prescribing and dispensing rules, [and] ensuring compliance," she says.
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