|People of faith urged to challenge pharmaceutical industry over AIDS drugs|
|Monday, 23 July 2012 08:02|
A report from the interfaith pre-conference to AIDS 2012, the 19th international Aids conference, by Alan Bain
Those dying from AIDS-related illnesses have waited long enough for a response from a pharmaceutical industry dragging its feet in search of profits, Interfaith Pre-Conference participants, meeting in advance of AIDS 2012, were told today.
David Deakin, from Tearfund in the UK, and himself once a worker in the industry, spoke of the 15-year battle between 1996 and 2003. He said, '10 million allegedly died from AIDS then as a direct result of the intransigence of the pharmaceutical industry. They have a systemic problem that needs to change.'
'We supply 8 million patients now with ART (Antiretroviral Therapy ) but by 2030 this will rise to 50 million,' Deakin noted. 'With second and third line drugs (required when patients become resistant to first line drugs) things will only get harder.
Over 400 people of faith attended the interfaith pre-conference to AIDS 2012, titled 'Taking Action for Health, Dignity, and Justice', on Friday and Saturday (20-21) July at Howard University, Washington, DC.
Esteban Burrone, policy advisor of the Medicines Patent Pool set up in 2010 to promote access to affordable HIV medicines in developing countries, pointed out, 'What use are expensive second and third line drugs to patients who can't afford them? We invite the industry to sit down and discuss how they can bring down prices.'
Mr Burrone spoke of the royalties involved and bilateral licences offered in secret and called for more transparency. 'We have taken the first step in a long march,' he said. 'We need to bring the PI to the negotiating table, learn from our own mistakes, find a solution and work collaboratively and voluntarily. I am convinced the pharmaceutical industry can do more.'
Dr Lalthanmawia from the Christian Medical Association of India spoke of the challenges in his country where he said that they would need many more second-line drugs by the end of 2012 but treatment depended on funding available. He said, 'We are seeing international companies taking over drug patents and second line drugs are now six times more expensive than first line.
He concluded, 'We need to be more people-centric rather than concentrating on products - second line drugs need to be more accessible.'
Ruth Messinger, President of the American Jewish World Service pointed out 'every person not treated is an unnecessary death. The US spent $225 million each day on the war in Iraq, $18 million each day on their pets. The issue is not funding but priorities and they have to change.'
Deakin asked for an immediate response using the social networking site Twitter to target eight pharmaceutical companies who are not willing to enter negotiations with the Medicine Patent Pool. Giving out their addresses he asked delegates to message, "Ppl of faith say global access now! Put yr #HIV meds in #the pool!".
Using the words from Isaiah, the Old Testament prophet, 'The Lord saw no justice and no one to intervene', Deakin called for people of faith to not stand back but to intervene.
Individuals are still encouraged to join the Twitter action by tweeting from their accounts:
AIDS 2012 is the 19th International AIDS Conference and the first to be held in the United States for over 20 years. IACs are held every two years and are the peak forum for those working in the field of HIV and AIDS, including scientists and researchers, policymakers, health professionals, people living with HIV, civil society activists and faith-based organizations.
|Last Updated on Monday, 23 July 2012 08:09|
By A Web Design
BMS World Mission
News and views from around the world
Download the latest monthly audio magazine. Produced as a ministry to those who are blind or have impaired vision.
The church planting arm of the Baptist Union of Great Britain
News and views from the 18-30s - the website of the Baptist Younger Leaders' Forum
Baptist Times link on your site
Connect your church website to The Baptist Times by adding this button.