Clinton: World AIDS Fight May Lower Drug Costs

ByABC News via logo
February 19, 2006, 10:13 AM

Feb. 19, 2006 — -- Former President Clinton has made one of his post-presidency missions the fight against world AIDS, and suggests Americans likely may benefit from the fight by a reduction in the cost of AIDS-fighting drugs.

Clinton made his comments exclusively to ABC News' "Good Morning America Weekend Edition" while in India, where huge medical strides in the fight against the AIDS epidemic are being made.

He said India and other countries are finding a way to provide lower-cost medical care to AIDS patients that could drive down prices in the United States as well.

"I visited a factory as modern as anywhere on Earth yesterday, producing millions and millions of medications for AIDS and other diseases here in India," Clinton said. "We are now treating people all across the world for under $140 per person a year and we are still paying $10,000 a year in the United States. At least, we should be paying less than that."

Today, the Clinton Foundation announced a program to train Indian nurses in AIDS care.

"I think the Indians, with their science and technology, first have the ability to help people solve the AIDS problem and other epidemics around the world," Clinton said. "It will hopefully provide us some good old-fashioned competition. And eventually Americans will get the benefit of it, while still maintaining a strong base in our own country of science and technology."

Clinton also weighed in on other issues, including Vice President Dick Cheney's accidental shooting of a hunting companion, Texas attorney Harry Whittington, on a quail hunt. He found some fault with the way the accident was disclosed to the public, but said he understands accidents happen.

"I come from a culture from where we quail hunt, so I know something about it," Clinton said. "It's not an enterprise free of danger, for all kinds of obvious reasons. We have people who are quite often, who are shot in quail incidents, so I didn't feel the need to get in the pile-on.

"I think the White House should have said something sooner," he added, "but I think it's gotten a little more life than it would have because the administration has enormous penchant for secrecy, for not telling anybody anything about anything."