The fund, which is also designed to address malaria and tuberculosis, said on Friday that the programmes it financed should seek to buy the lowest-priced drugs they could find, whether they were patented or generic.
"Until now grantees did not know what to buy because we did not have a policy, but now there is clear advice that they should get the lowest possible price," said Anil Soni, a senior official at the Global Fund.
The fund was set up last year at the instigation of Kofi Annan, UN secretary-general, to finance treatment and prevention programmes for the three diseases which cause nearly 6m deaths a year, mostly in the developing world.
brand-name pharmaceutical industry has lobbied hard against the use of generics
in the developing world, arguing that some of them might not be safe and that
they would encourage greater use of counterfeit medicines. However, the board of
the Global Fund, which met in
The decision was welcomed by Aids activists. However, they criticised the fund's board for scaling back planned spending next year.
Its secretariat had initially proposed additional spending in 2003 of $3.6bn (€3.8bn, £2.3bn) but this has been reduced to $2bn. Officials said this was because there would be one fewer funding round next year than initially planned.
"Removing one round of grants will lead to more lives being lost and additional costs," said Paul Zietz, of the Global Aids Alliance. "Whether this was the result of pressure from donors or a genuine decision about the logistics of the fund, we do not know."
Bush administration has been shockingly inept," he said. "We are still
bat- tling the basic problem of the
Feachem, executive director of the Global Fund, said: "The programmes are
ready. Any delay now will be measured by millions of lives."