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On Monday, top United Nations officials met with nine pharmaceutical executives and agreed to continue doing exactly what they're already doing to combat HIV/AIDS. While Reuters chose to focus on the commitments made by industry, I personally found the discussion of the UN's role much more interesting:

We agreed on the role of the UN system in a number of areas, including in devising, promoting and updating guidelines on diagnosis, treatment and product quality for adults and children. WHO and UNICEF will also step up efforts to expand the prequalification programme of urgently needed medicines and diagnostics.

The UN will continue to work with Governments, donors and, where appropriate, research-and-development as well as generic pharmaceutical companies, in developing forecasting models to predict demand and supply of HIV medications and diagnostics in developing countries.

I completely agree that these are critical, underserved functions. But I think it is an open question whether the UN is best placed to perform them, given its current record on forecasting.

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.