[Ip-health] 27 July 2018 - Seizing the moment for TB – TAC intervention

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Fri Jul 27 09:18:40 PDT 2018


https://tac.org.za/news/seizing-the-moment-for-tb/

27 July 2018

Seizing the moment for TB – TAC intervention

Speech delivered by TAC Chairperson Sibongile Tshabalala and TAC General
Secretary Anele Yawa at #AIDS2018 at a session titled: “Seizing the moment
for TB” on 27 July 2018.

Comrades, I come from the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa

I thank my comrade from India, Blessi Kumar for giving us an opportunity to
have our voice heard at the TB session.

Comrades  – what is killing our people with HIV today – it is TB – so yes,
we must seize the moment as this session says.

But far away from all of us, from community groups, in New York, a document
is being negotiated that will affect how our governments “seize the moment”
– could any of us have imagined that the objective of one of the countries
would be to seize our medicines.

You all have heard about the UN High Level Meeting on TB which is to take
place in September 2018 and there will be a declaration signed by all
countries.

The HLM and the political declaration will form the basis of my government,
your government, all our governments to commit political will and resources
to fight TB.

But language that will ensure access to affordable generic TB medicines,
vaccines and diagnostics may not be in the Declaration now.

When our lives were in danger in the 1990s our President Nelson Mandela was
sued by big pharma to stop generic medicines from reaching our people.

We came on the streets – the whole world came on the streets and at the
World Trade Organisation all the countries including the United States
signed the Doha Declaration – this Declaration recognises the right of our
governments to take legal measures to ensure access to generic medicines.

That language has been in every HIV declaration in the past two decades.

That language is in the sustainable development goals.

Why should it not be in the TB High Level Meeting declaration.

Why is the United States bullying our governments to take this language
out? Ambassador Goosby  you were leading the US response on HIV for many
years, why have you not spoken out on what the US is doing? As UN
Ambassador we call on you to immediately support language in the
declaration on using TRIPS flexibilities to ensure access to affordable TB
medicines, vaccines and diagnostics.

Why is the EU silently supporting the US?

Why is the government of the Netherlands that is hosting us, that has
pledged to put their power and political will behind HIV staying silent on
this?

Do you not know what is killing people with HIV?

Or is your only concern that we will get on flights and bring TB to you?

That you do not really care whether we live or die?

Whether we get TB treatment or not?

My government, South Africa, has stood up and broken the silence. My
government is demanding that language on access to affordable generic TB
treatment is including in the HLM.

We call on all of you, all other governments, all our panelists to join us
and our government in protecting our right to affordable TB medicines.

Viva South Africa Viva!

——

Comrades!

Do we not know who is behind all this?

Johnson and Johnson said in an interview yesterday that they have the same
goals as all of us!

No my friend we do not!

Our goal is to save our lives and those of our comrades.

Your goal is to make money off of our suffering.

We know that bedaquiline can be available for less than a hundred dollars –
so don’t expect us to be happy with the 400 USD price – don’t expect us not
to fight for our comrades in other countries where you are charging even
higher prices – up to 30,000 USD in some countries!

So if you think you can use the US government to keep the language ensuring
access to generic medicines out of the declaration – my friend you cannot
keep us – the community, the patients, the ones whose lives are at stake
out of the declaration!

We will stop your patents from being granted.

We will have compulsory licenses issued on your medicines.

Community property not intellectual property.

People not patents.

All the power, to the people!

Amandla!

-- 
Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International
41 22 791 6727
thiru at keionline.org


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