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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 July 23 - 29  > TPP may impede availability of generic drugs
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2014 July 23 - 29 [POLITICS]

TPP may impede availability of generic drugs

July 23, 2014
Akahata ‘current’ column

The 20th International AIDS Conference started on July 20 in Melbourne in Australia with tributes paid to the tragic deaths of six delegates, including world-renowned Dutch researcher Joep Lange.

The six were on board the Malaysian Airlines flight which was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17.

Lange was former President of the International AIDS Society and a pioneer of antiretroviral therapy to help delay the onset of the disease.

He also dedicated efforts to promote generic drugs and the availability of affordable medicines after the expiry date of patents, so that HIV-positive patients in developing countries can have access.

This prominent researcher once said, “If we can get a cold can of Coke to any part of Africa, we can certainly deliver AIDS treatment.”

Generics, for sure, serve as the lifeline for the world’s poor. However, the availability of these drugs is being threatened by the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations.

Pharmaceutical companies in developed countries are claiming the right to substantially extend the term of patents in order to strengthen intellectual property rights protection. At the same time, concerns are growing that this may impede the development and diffusion of generic drug products.

Fifa Rahman, an activist with the Malaysian AIDS Council NGO, criticized the free trade pact last year by saying, “[P]eople living with HIV who have exhausted all other treatment options will again face death.”

The loss of Dr. Lange was a tragedy that struck in the midst of the struggle against the life-menacing TPP.
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