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International : BRICS vow to improve access to low-cost medicine

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The BRICS group of emerging countries vowed to improve access to low-cost and high-quality medicine — and  called on developed nations to shoulder responsibility in helping the poor.

Health ministers from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa said  they would work with international groups such as the World Health  Organization and UNAIDS to provide “affordable, safe and effective  technologies”.

“We are committed to continue to collaborate in order to advance access to  public health services and… support other countries in their efforts to  promote health for all,” the BRICS group said in a statement.

The five emerging countries together account for more than 40 percent of  the world’s population.

The gathering in the Chinese capital was the first health minister-level  meeting for the BRICS group of nations. It was attended by UNAIDS and the  World Health Organization.

The BRICS called on WHO members, especially developed countries, to boost  funding for the organisation while Brazilian health minister Alexandre Padilha  told reporters wealthier countries should “shoulder” responsibility.

WHO director general Margaret Chan called on the BRICS — major suppliers  of generic drugs used to treat diseases such as HIV/AIDS — to boost  production.

Bejing, July 11, 2011 (AFP)