Thursday, July 7, 2011

Millions of AIDS patients could die if India restricts the production of generic drugs

Millions of AIDS patients "very poor" would die if India restricts the production of generic drugs against this sickness under the trade agreement with the European Union is currently negotiating , warned on Tuesday as the Joint United Nations Program for HIV-AIDS (UNAIDS).

In an interview with Reuters, the executive director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibe, has warned that "millions will die if India can not produce" such cheap drugs and pointed to Africa "as the most affected" by this decision. The fact that about 86 percent of individuals treated for receiving AIDS drugs manufactured in India, says, makes this issue "in a matter of life or death." Therefore, Sidibé has explained, "India must resist to eliminate any flexibility, since any trade agreement that could lead to India" to limit their production capacity, will have "dire" consequences "for the rest of the world." India and EU are trading at today, a free trade agreement.

Some of the measures outlined in the agreement are the extension of deadlines for patents, strengthening border control standards and the request for data exclusivity for generics. As a result, prices of these drugs may increase, and limit the range of doses and delay access to new and better medicines, as said a UN report released in September last year.

"We have been fighting for so long to make sure that these poor people can access treatment," Sidibe said, "For me, this trade agreement is the beginning" to counteract "all those progress in social justice and redistribution of opportunities. " Sidibé, Malian nationality, has argued that African leaders have asked India to pay attention to any trade agreement to sign and, potentially, their ability to block production of generic drugs for very poor quality.

"There are pockets of the rich developed world to be deprived of medicines but the most needy, the poor," lamented the director of UNAIDS. Thirty years after the discovery of HIV, experts insist that substantial progress has been made globally to alleviate it. At a UN summit held last month, a set of ambitious goals such as providing generic fifteen million patients by 2015 compared to six million today.

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