[Ip-health] Pharma refuses to ensure access to lifesaving Hepatitis C treatment at global meeting

Pauline Londeix pauline.londeix at gmail.com
Fri Feb 28 20:24:50 PST 2014

Pharma refuses to ensure access to lifesaving Hepatitis C treatment at
global meeting

[In English]

[In Arabic] http://www.hepcoalition.org/spip.php?article84&lang=ar
[In Russian] http://www.hepcoalition.org/spip.php?article83&lang=ru
[In French] http://www.hepcoalition.org/spip.php?article82&lang=fr

Bangkok, Thailand, February 28, 2014 --Thirty-eight activists from 22
countries joined forces at the first-ever Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)
World Community Advisory Board (CAB) to demand equitable access to
treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV) from six multinational
pharmaceutical companies. Yet AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead,
Janssen, Merck, and Roche refused to provide a plan for equitable
access to treatment for HCV, a curable infection that kills over
350,000 people each year.

AIDS activists, including people living with HIV, people living with
HCV, people who inject drugs (PWID), and their allies, are fighting
for access to a new generation of HCV drugs--called direct-acting
antivirals (DAAs). These drugs offer the potential to eradicate HCV;
they have cured up to 100 percent of people in clinical trials.

All of the companies refused to commit to price reductions that would
allow affordable access for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs),
home to more than 85 percent of the 185 million people living with
HCV. Even Roche and Merck, producers of older, soon-to-be-obsolete HCV
drugs, refused to lower prices to affordable levels.

In high-income countries, DAA treatment costs US$140,000, although
DAAs are cheap to produce. According to an analysis by academic
experts, it costs less than US$250 for a 12-week DAA regimen. "This
level of greed is inexcusable, and keeps the cure out of reach for
almost everyone who needs these drugs," says Shiba Phurailatpam,
regional coordinator of the Asia Pacific Network of People Living with

"Most people cannot afford HCV treatment--nor can their governments,"
explains Paata Sabelashvili of the Georgian Harm Reduction Network.
"My government, like others in the Eastern European region, is
launching a national treatment program, but astronomically high prices
will limit it. How can governments and donors effectively address HCV
if Pharma refuses to drop drug prices?" The strategies currently
employed by these pharmaceutical companies, that include delayed drug
registration, voluntary licensing, and patient assistance programs,
are less likely to facilitate better access in LMICs. "Governments
should use every means available to them, including compulsory
licenses, to protect public health and expand access to DAAs, even
where they are patented," said Lorena Di Giano, general coordinator of
the Red Latinoamericana por el Acceso a Medicamentos (RedLAM).

We are deeply committed to strategies that allow generic production of
DAAs. Access to affordable generic drugs brought down HIV drug prices
from US$10,000 to under US$100, saving millions of lives. People
living with HCV deserve access to treatment; they should not become
hostages to Pharma greed.

Contacts: Mr. Shiba Phurailatpam, Asia Pacific Network of People
Living with HIV/AIDS (APN+), +66-86-600-0738 (Thailand) Ms. Karyn
Kaplan, Treatment Action Group, +1-646-316-8979 (U.S.) Ms. Chloé
Forette, Médecins du Monde, +33-609-537-369 (France)

1st HCV World CAB Participant List

East and Southeast Asia
 Jirasak Sripramong, Thai AIDS Treatment Action Group (TTAG), Thailand
 Dr. Kieu Thi Mai Huong, SCDI, Vietnam
 Dr. Lisa Peiching Huang, Médecins du Monde, Vietnam
 Edo Agustian, PKNI, Indonesia
 Aditya Wardhana, IAC, Indonesia
 Do Dang Dong, VNP+, Vietnam
 Zhang Bo, Yunnan IDA, China
 Thomas Cai, AIDS Care China
 Odilon Couzin, Hong Kong
 Shiba Phurailatpam, Thailand
 Giten Khwairakpam, Thailand
 Kajal Bhardwaj, India
 Paul Cawthorne, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Thailand
 Dr. Gonzague Jourdain, Thailand

Eastern Europe/Central Asia
 Paata Sabelashvili, Georgian Harm Reduction Network, Georgia
 Sergey Golovin, ITPC-Russia
 Ludmila Maistat, The HIV/AIDS Alliance-Ukraine

 Karyn Kaplan, Treatment Action Group, United States
 Tracy Swan, Treatment Action Group, United States
 Khalil Elouardighi, Coalition Plus, France
 Noah Metheny, Global Forum on MSM & HIV, United States
 Camila Picchio, Treatment Action Group, United States
 Simon Collins, HIV i-Base, United Kingdom
 Chloé Forette, Médecins du Monde, France
 Pauline Londeix, Act Up-Basel/ITPC, France
 Jude Byrne, International Network of People Who Use Drugs (INPUD),
United Kingdom
 Jorrit Kabel, AIDS Fonds, The Netherlands
 Els Torreele, Open Society Foundations, United States
 Azzi Momenghalibaf, Open Society Foundations, United States
 Tahir Amin, I-MAK, United States
 Priti Radhakrishnan, I-MAK, United States

 Abshiro Halake, Kenya Red Cross Society
 Ed Ngoksin, Global Network of PLWHA (GNP+), South Africa

Middle East/North Africa
 Heba Wanis, Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
 Dr. Mustapha Sodqi, ALCS (Association de Lutte Contre le Sida), Morocco
 Othman Mellouk, ITPC-MENA, Morocco

 Nudhar Bundhoo, Prévention Information et Lutte contre le Sida
(PILS), Mauritius

Latin America
 Lorena Di Giano, Red Latinoamericana por el Acceso a Medicamentos -
RedLAM, Argentina

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