[Also available as a PDF] International AIDS Society President and President-Elect Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Chris Beyrer today expressed their support for community activists at the IAS 2013 Conference protesting at the potential upcoming restrictions in access to generic medicines for many diseases including HIV, ahead of the next round of negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and Access to medicines (TPP) taking place in Kota Kinabulu, Malaysia from July 15-25, and organized by the Government of the United States.
Activists representing Malaysian and regional organizations including the Malaysian AIDS Council and the Asia Pacific Network for People living with HIV/AIDS handed a memorandum to Barré-Sinoussi and Beyrer at the IAS 2013 Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention taking place this week in Kuala Lumpur. The memorandum declares its “opposition to the TPP as it puts the profits of multinational pharmaceutical companies ahead of the people’s rights to health in regular and emergency settings”. The IAS applauds the initiative of the Malaysian government who first imported generic HIV antiretrovirals as early as 2001.
The United States have suggested new Intellectual Property (IP) provisions that would make medicines less affordable and accessible to people living in TPP countries, especially in their generic form. The Memorandum states that “HIV medicines, hepatitis C treatments, cancer medicines, essential medicines, and lifesaving medicines for many chronic diseases are all under threat. Many people in developing countries already lack access to lifesaving medicines, and new trade barriers will further limit their access”.
“The provision of cheap generic drugs has been the cornerstone of many countries’ success in responding to the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” said Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Chris Beyrer. “The IAS supports the Memorandum’s call for the US government to review its position on the Intellectual Property chapter of the Trans Pacific Partnership. We call for a Public Health exception that will allow all countries to sustain their current access to life-saving drugs and even extend it. We also call for more transparency in the TPP negotiation processes and for inclusion of all stakeholders in the discussions, including, but not limited to, HIV/AIDS and other health organizations”.
“We will support all countries involved in the TPP negotiation process and willing to consider public and individual health first and put profits second, including Malaysia. The AIDS epidemic is at a turning point. An AIDS-free generation now looks like a realistic objective. Implementation of live-saving scientific knowledge through access to affordable drugs is more important than trade negotiations”.