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[e-drug] MSF: HIV Roundtable

  • Subject: [e-drug] MSF: HIV Roundtable
  • From: "Kathryn Dinh" <[email protected]>
  • Date: Thu, 26 Sep 2002 04:43:17 -0400 (EDT)

E-drug: MSF: HIV Roundtable

Below is an MSF Media Release regarding a roundtable on HIV treatment
access in resource-poor settings in the Asia Pacific held in Canberra this


Kathryn Dinh
MSF Access Campaign
  "Kathryn Dinh" <[email protected]>

Media Release

Treatment Access or Market Access?

  M�decins Sans Fronti�res queries Pharma motives on AIDS

September 25, 2002: The international medical aid agency M�decins Sans
Fronti�res (Doctors Without Borders) has criticised the pharmaceutical
industry's use of a human development forum on access to HIV treatment as a
tool to push for increased markets in the Asia Pacific.

The warning comes after a roundtable of key players in HIV treatment in the
Asia Pacific, including community organisations, NGOs, academics,
government officials and industry representatives, concluded in Canberra on
September 24. The brand-name pharmaceutical industry initiated and provided
significant funding to the conference, which also received support from the
Australian government.

"The Roundtable's official outcomes have been overwhelmingly positive,
especially in connecting people living with HIV/AIDS, treatment advocates
and academics as well as placing such a high importance on access to HIV
treatment for people in developing countries," said M�decins Sans
Fronti�res' Kathryn Dinh, the Australian Director of its Access to
Essential Medicines campaign.

"But what is of concern to MSF is that the proprietary pharmaceutical
industry seems to have approached this Roundtable with the unofficial
agenda of increasing its market share in the region, especially in Papua
New Guinea. If the industry's current public-private partnership model is
followed, drug prices will likely remain much higher than those of generic
manufacturers and far fewer people will have access to treatment."

Of particular concern to MSF is the case of Papua New Guinea.
Pharmaceutical companies have been engaging in heavy lobbying of PNG
authorities for the supply of ARVs for almost a year and sought a mandate
from Roundtable participants for their move into PNG.

"Unfortunately the brand-name pharmaceutical industry continues to offer
their drugs at prices up to 97 percent higher than the generic equivalents.
For countries which simply cannot afford to pay, drug donation programs do
play a short-term role but are also creating future markets ? the
pharmaceutical industry have not become global altruists overnight."

"It is of great concern to us that the pharmaceutical industry used a forum
of objective discussion on HIV treatment as a tool to promote and
legitimise their commercial interests," said Dinh.

"It is far more effective to focus on establishing affordable and
sustainable drug supplies for HIV, such as those offered by generic
manufacturers, rather than being at the whim of short-term pharmaceutical
company offers. Sourcing affordable drugs is critical to ensure that the
maximum number of people have long-term access to HIV treatment."

For comment, call Kathryn Dinh on (61 2) 0419 275395.
For more information, call Sean Healy on (61 2) 0407 525700.
More information about M�decins Sans Fronti�res can be found at its
website: www.msf.org
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