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.

09 July 2011

India says EU deal won't hit AIDS drugs supply

Via Reuters, by Nita Bhalla.

India has promised not to link a proposed trade deal with the European Union with limiting its production of generic HIV/AIDS drugs, the United Nations said on Thursday, giving hope to millions of infected patients but underlining the hurdles for the controversial pact.

The EU and India began negotiations in 2007 on a free-trade agreement which could generate two-way trade annually worth about $134 billion. But campaigners, including the U.N., have voiced concerns over how it could block India's ability to produce anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs and prevent the world's poor from accessing cheaper treatment.

"The Government of India reaffirms its full commitment to ensure that quality generic medicines, including anti-retroviral drugs, are seamlessly available, and to make them available to all countries," India's Commerce Minister Anand Sharma was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

"India will also use the flexibilities allowed under (the copyright pact) TRIPS, including the use of compulsory licensing, to ensure that people living with HIV have access to all life-saving medicines."

Sharma made the comments in a meeting with UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe, who on Tuesday told Reuters in an interview that millions of people around the world would die if the deal blocked India from producing generic medicines.

An estimated 15 million people are eligible for ARVs in low-and middle-income countries, yet currently only about 6.6 million people have access to treatment. India's pharmaceutical industry produces about 86 percent of the first-line cheap generic drugs, most of whom live in Africa.

Generic ARVs cost about $137 per person per year, a fraction of the price of patented ARVs used to treat the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, and are sold by western pharmaceutical firms, say experts

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

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