US flexibility urged on generic AIDS drugs

Former President Bill Clinton has urged the US government to be more accommodating in allowing money pledged for anti-AIDS programmes to be used for generic drugs.

During his current visit to New Delhi, India, Clinton accused US pharmaceutical companies of being too "harsh" in lobbying for restrictions on how funds were applied.

The Associated Press quoted Clinton as saying: "We need greater flexibility in the money that the US has appropriated."

Although the United States has pumped more money into the global AIDS fight than any other nation, its policies often forbid using the funds to purchase low-cost generic drugs from companies in India and Brazil.