[Ip-health] The Critical Role of Civil Society

Priti Radhakrishnan priti at i-mak.org
Fri Apr 3 08:36:02 PDT 2015

March 31, 2015

Mr Lelio Marmora

Executive Director, UNITAID

marmoral at unitaid.who.int

CC: Dr Philippe Duneton

Deputy Executive Director, UNITAID

dunetonp at who.int

Dear Mr. Marmora,

We would like to formally welcome you as the new Executive Director of
UNITAID and introduce ourselves as a coalition of civil society
organizations working on improving access to antiretroviral therapy (ARVs)
and direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) in low-and middle-income countries

As UNITAID enters a new chapter and redefines its direction in making drugs
more affordable and accessible under your stewardship, we are reaching out
to you to express the important role civil society plays in the market
space and how it can help your organization achieve its objectives. We
recognize that UNITAID has initiated efforts to support more civil society
groups to shape the market for ARVs, and applaud UNITAID for taking this
important step. We also believe that more collaboration is possible. In
particular, as UNITAID considers entering and shaping the market for DAAs,
we hope that you will be able to support and leverage the role of civil
society groups given the key role they have played in shaping access for

Therefore, in order to support UNITAID in its efforts to shape the market
for DAAs, we present a report to you entitled “The Critical Role of Civil
Society in Shaping the Market for Antiretroviral Therapy and Direct-Acting

*http://tinyurl.com/lew2mm5 <http://tinyurl.com/lew2mm5>*

The report is the first attempt to document how civil society efforts
shaped the ARV market and is now forging new ground in its efforts to shape
the DAA market. A great number of actors played an important part in the
pioneering work around treatment scale-up; therefore, our report provides a
high-level snapshot and offers examples that are meant to be illustrative
-- but not comprehensive.

The report is divided into two main parts. Part one shows how civil society
organisations (CSOs) in the HIV space helped create demand generation,
increase drug affordability, remove intellectual property barriers and
improve service delivery of ARVs in LMICs. Part two elaborates how civil
society is similarly shaping the HCV space for DAAs.

In short, our key recommendations are to:

- *Include all people **living with HIV and HCV, and people who use drugs,
in all decision-making for HIV/HCV co-infection*:

Directly affected and disproportionately impacted communities need to be
involved at every level of policy and program decision-making, serve on
boards of key stakeholder organizations, and be included in all HIV and HCV
forums to share their experiences and expertise.

*- Fund interventions that target criminalized and marginalized
populations: *

 Significant structural barriers such as stigma, discrimination and
punitive laws and policies impede or prevent access to HIV treatment for
key at-risk populations, including people who inject drugs. Investment in
removing these structural barriers through civil society-led work is an
investment in market shaping and realizing universal access.

*- Dramatically increase funding for civil society interventions**: *

Civil society has demonstrated leadership role in successful market shaping
and treatment strategies for HIV across the globe.

As such, we urge UNITAID to:

a) develop a strategy for HCV that meaningfully includes civil society, and
actively solicit and support the development of proposals from CSOs through
technical assistance, to most effectively and efficiently drive access to
treatment; and

b) expand the types of interventions UNITAID funds – particularly with
respect to the advocacy work that is essential to ensuring national and
global prioritization of HCV. This will be particularly important in
middle-income countries, many of which are being excluded from voluntary
licenses on DAAs.

We trust that we can explore this conversation with you, and with your
leadership and support put in place a partnership that can help achieve our
collective goals.


Priti Radhakrishnan

Director of Treatment Access

Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK)

On behalf of:

AIDS ACCESS Foundation

All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV
Associação Brasileira Interdisciplinar de AIDS

Asia-Pacific Network of People Living with HIV

Delhi Network of Positive People

Fundación Grupo Efecto Positivo

International Network of People who Use Drugs

International Treatment Preparedness Coalition

International Treatment Preparedness Coalition-Ru (Eastern Europe and
Central Asia)

Médecins du Monde
Treatment Action Group

*Priti Radhakrishnan*
Co-Founder and Director of Treatment Access, I-MAK
Echoing Green Fellow | Pop!Tech Fellow | Asia Society Associate Fellow

*"Where innovation meets access to affordable medicines"*

*Website: *www.i-mak.org
*Skype:* pritiwho
*Mobile:* +1 917 703 2876
*E-mail:* priti at i-mak.org

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