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Millions will die if India stops AIDS drugs — UN
- A sex worker holds a placard during an AIDS awareness rally to mark the World AIDS Day in Siliguri December 1, 2008. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/Files
Millions will die if India stops AIDS drugs — U.N.
By Nita Bhalla
NEW DELHI | Tue Jul 5, 2011
(Reuters) — Millions of people dependent on life-saving generic drugs to treat HIV/AIDS will die if India stops producing cheap drugs for the disease due to its trade deal with the European Union, the head of UNAIDS warned on Tuesday.
The EU and India are currently negotiating a free-trade agreement, which campaigners say will restrict India’s ability to produce anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs, preventing the world’s poor from accessing cheap drugs for their treatment.
"India should resist removing any flexibility because any trade agreement which could lead to India not being able to produce will be terrible for the rest of the world," said Michel Sidibe, executive director for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
"Millions of people will die if India cannot produce and Africa will be the most affected. For me, it is an issue of life or death," he told Reuters in an interview, adding that about 86 percent of people on treatment were taking drugs made in India.
The EU-India trade deal includes measures that could delay or restrict competition from generic medicines by extending patent terms, requiring data exclusivity and tightening border enforcement rules.
Such moves could drive up prices for India’s anti-retroviral treatments, limit dosage options and delay access to newer and better drugs, said a U.N. report in September last year.
REVERSING GAINS MADE
Thirty years after the HIV/AIDS virus was first discovered, experts say while substantial progress has been made by the global community in stemming it, only a fraction of those living with the illness are on medication.
At a high level U.N. meeting last month, nations agreed on a set of ambitious targets to rid the world of disease, including scaling up the provision of generics to reach 15 million patients from six million by 2015.
The trade deal, Sidibe said, would reverse many of the gains made in improving the lives of the world’s poor.
"We have been fighting for so long to make sure that poor people could have access to treatment," he said. "For me, it will be the beginning of reversing all the gains we made on social justice and redistribution of opportunity."
Sidibe, a Mali national, said African leaders were asking India to really pay serious attention to any trade agreement which would block them to produce quality generic drugs for very poor people.
"It is not a rich pocket of people in the developed world who will be deprived of drugs, it will be the most needy, the most poor."
(Editing by Yoko Nishikawa)
News from the movements
25-Aug-2016 RTSome 2,000 members of the American Postal Workers Union have gathered in Miami where they are officially opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
24-Aug-2016 Deutsche WelleHundreds of thousands of protesters are expected to take to the streets in several German cities to rally against plans to move forward with two key international trade agreements - one year after a similar protest managed to attract similar numbers.
23-Aug-2016 APRNNeither the TPP nor the RCEP, neither the US nor China and their corporations will ever address the long-standing people’s aspiration for an international trading system that responds to their needs.
23-Aug-2016 ScoopCivil society groups, trade unions, church groups, environmentalists, gender activists and many more are calling for Ministers to make no decision on PACER-Plus — a free trade agreement between Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands — until there has been a proper social impact assessment and mandate from the Pacific people who are most likely to be affected.
22-Aug-2016 Radio New ZealandA meeting on Pacific labour mobility under the PACER Plus trade deal has a glaring omission – the voices of organised labour.
Avec de nouveaux accords commerciaux, le vol organisé par les multinationales est légalisé et les semences paysannes deviennent illégalesDe nouveaux accords de libre-échange légalisent le vol organisé par les grandes entreprises et mettent en péril la possibilité pour les agriculteurs de conserver, produire et échanger des semences.
22-Aug-2016 El PaísEl secretario de Relaciones Internacionales del Pit-Cnt, Fernando Gambera, afirmó tras participar del XVI Foro Social Mundial realizado en Montreal (Canadá) que los Tratado de Libre Comercio (TLC) son una preocupación para todas las centrales sindicales porque "apuntan a degradar las conquistas de los trabajadores".
22-Aug-2016 Premium TimesSocial Action has asked the federal government to not to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union. Ghana and Ivory Coast have also resisted the EPA
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