[Ip-health] Press Statement by UNAIDS- India’s Commerce Minister pledges continued availability of high quality generic drugs

Shailly shailly.17 at gmail.com
Wed Jul 6 23:16:37 PDT 2011

 Press Statement: UNAIDS- India’s Commerce Minister pledges continued
availability of high quality generic drugs

*Use of TRIPS flexibilities, including compulsory licensing and rejection of
data exclusivity clauses, in trade agreements by India to ensure sustained
access to life-saving medicines for people living with HIV*
"We reject data exclusivity clauses in free trade agreements,” said Mr
Sharma. Welcoming the Minister’s assurance, Mr Sidibé said: “Millions of
people will die if India cannot produce generic antiretroviral drugs, and
Africa will be the most affected. For me, it is an issue of life or death.”

*NEW DELHI**/GENEVA**, 6 July 2011*—UNAIDS welcomes the assurance given by
India’s Commerce Minister, Mr Anand Sharma, that India will reject any
efforts to include ‘data exclusivity’ clauses in bilateral trade agreements.
This assurance came at a meeting between Mr Sharma and UNAIDS Executive
Director Michel Sidibé, held today at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

India’s pharmaceutical industry produces more than 85% of the first-line
antiretroviral drugs used to treat people living with HIV. The cost of the
least expensive first generation treatment regimen has dropped to less than
US$ 86 per patient per year. But as increasing numbers of people move
towards more efficacious and tolerable first-line treatment, drug prices
could double compared to first-generation regimens. In addition, as patients
develop drug resistance and require more expensive and patent-protected
second- and third-line antiretroviral medicines, some projections indicate
treatment costs escalating by as much as twenty-fold.

“The Government of India reaffirms its full commitment to ensure that
quality generic medicines, including antiretroviral drugs, are seamlessly
available, and to make them available to all countries,” said Mr Sharma.
“India will also use the flexibilities allowed under TRIPS, including the
use of compulsory licensing, to ensure that people living with HIV have
access to all life-saving medicines,” Mr Sharma added.

“India, together with Brazil, South Africa, China and Russia, must forge an
alliance with other high-income countries to ensure that no single person in
the world dies because they could not afford to buy life-saving medicines or
health care,” Mr Sidibé said.

An estimated 15 million people are eligible for antiretroviral treatment in
low- and middle-income countries, and about 6.6 million people have access
to HIV treatment. The Government of India provides free antiretroviral
treatment to more than 420 000 people living with HIV in India.

Current treatment approaches are not sufficient to provide access to all who
need it. UNAIDS and other partners advocate for Treatment 2.0—a framework
that seeks to simplify the way treatment is currently provided. For this
approach to succeed, TRIPS flexibilities as well as innovation and
protection of intellectual property rights will play an important role for
treatment access in the future.

More information about the Ip-health mailing list