Mapping Pathways is a multi-national project to develop and nurture a research-driven, community-led global understanding of the emerging evidence base around the adoption of antiretroviral-based prevention strategies to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The evidence base is more than results from clinical trials - it must include stakeholder and community perspectives as well.

13 June 2011

The Importance of Affordable Antiretroviral Therapy

by Aldona Martinka

The UN high-level meeting on HIV/AIDS last week highlighted the importance of accessable and affordable ARVs in developing countries. These hold potential for both treatment and prevention, but their availability in impoverished areas may soon be threatened.

Before CIPLA in India began to produce ARV cocktails for around a dollar a day in 2001, the treatment could be thousands of dollars, completely out of reach for the vast majority of the world. Since then the competition has greatly increased the affordability of these treatments, making them viable options for countless people that would not have had access to them otherwise.

Free Trade Agreements may restrict production and distribution of the more affordable generic versions of antiretrovirals through the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement. This agreement already restricts access to recently developed pharmaceuticals in the southern hemisphere, but negotiations could worsen the situation according to Modern Ghana, "Studies show that FTAs with US resulted in 79% of 103 off-patent medicines not having any generic equivalent in Jordan and in price differences of up to 845,000% in the same therapeutic segment in Guatemala."

The EU is also pushing to create clauses in a trade agreement with India that would limit pharmaceutical production. This has potentially devastating effects in developing countries which depend on affordable drugs from manufacturers like those in India that would be affected. The reason for this is member states pushing to prop up the interests of their own pharmaceutical enterprises, often at the expense of the countries that most need these treatments.

Hope comes in the form of the Bangkok Declaration on Free Trade Agreements and Access to Medicines, a declaration supported by people and groups from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, some of the most-affected areas. The Bangkok Declaration opposes the creation of any more Free Trade Agreements, saying that they put corporate welfare above the welfare of millions living with AIDS that would be denied treatment.

To find out more about Free Trade Agreements and generic pharmaceuticals, visit herehere and here.

[Content that is linked from other sources is for informational purposes and should not construe a Mapping Pathways position.]

No comments:

Post a Comment