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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)
Upcoming days of action
Oct to Nov: autumn of action against CETA in Europe incl. Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Germany, Greece, Netherland, Slovenia, Spain... - details
27-28 Oct: mobilisation in Brussels against CETA - contact
03-05 Nov: mobilisation in Brussels against TTIP - contact
4 Nov: Continental day for democracy and against FTAs & neoliberalism in Latin America - contact
Any edits, please contact us
News from the movements
27-Oct-2016 ITFGlobal trade union leaders meeting in Panama have united in condemnation of TiSA (the Trade in Services Agreement) and CETA (the Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement), highlighting the risks that both trade agreements pose to jobs and job security.
27-Oct-2016 PSIOn 12 October, the closing day of the Asia Pacific Regional Conference in Fukuoka, around 250 delegates representing more than 70 PSI affiliates from 18 countries resolved to intensify the struggle against the ambitious Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership under negotiation among 16 countries in the region.
20-Oct-2016 El DiarioHoy es un día clave en la defensa de la democracia tal y como la hemos entendido hasta ahora.
20-Oct-2016 Bangkok PostAccess to affordable medicine and farmers’ control over seeds could be undermined by the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership being negotiated between Asean member countries and six other trade partners, says FTA Watch in Thailand
20-Oct-2016 CEOA close look at the controversial EU-Canada trade deal shows that concerns blocking its ratification are well-founded.
19-Oct-2016 Telesur“We don’t want what happened to us to happen to the people in Dakota,” Piaguaje told teleSUR.
18-Oct-2016 Peoples WorldIn protests billed as “anti-colonial” demonstrations, Peruvians hit the streets on 12 October against the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trade in Services Agreement
17-Oct-2016 No al TTIPEn el marco de una semana repleta de protestas para detener la aprobación del tratado de libre comercio entre la Unión Europea y Estados Unidos (TTIP) y la ratificación del CETA (el acuerdo de la Unión Europea con Canadá), la plataforma estatal ‘No al TTIP’ ha movilizado este sábado a miles de personas a lo largo de la geografía española y muy especialmente en la capital de España.
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