20 April 2011
Geneva, 20 April 2011: While the Associated Press story has since been corrected, the Global Fund deplores the serious misrepresentations and factual inaccuracies contained in an article on drug thefts published today.
Several allegations in the original AP story had no basis, and overstated the scale of the problem. The article wrongly alleged that "perhaps even hundreds of millions" worth of drugs may be stolen; in reality, over the last two and a half years, the Global Fund has funded a total of US$ 98 million in anti-malaria drugs in the 13 countries mentioned in the article. The Global Fund is currently investigating what portion of this amount might have been diverted. In one instance of confirmed drug thefts from Global Fund procured shipments in Togo, the Global Fund is seeking the repayment of US$ 850,000 of which US$ 600,000 have already been refunded.
In December 2010, the Global Fund initiated joint action with partner agencies to tackle the problem of theft of medicines, inviting agencies "to take concerted action to stem drug thefts, ranging from information-sharing and joint strengthening of procurement and distribution capacity in developing countries to applying stringent security measures around drug storage and transport" (see Press Release dated 10 December 2010, " The Global Fund Proposes Joint Action to Prevent Theft of Medicines ").
The Global Fund is at the forefront of the response to drug theft. It remains committed to the highest standards of transparency and accountability and has acted upon each instance of misuse of its resources taking strong and swift action by suspending grants, freezing cash disbursements and demanding a return of misused funds.
Global Fund financing had led unprecedented progress in the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria, and has helped save millions of lives.