NGO Delegate John Rock, Asia and the Pacific
To Sir Andrew Witty (CEO, GaxoSmithKline) and Subhanu Saxena (CEO, Cipla)
To end AIDS the strategy must be to achieve undetectable community viral load. To do that we have to be able to measure it, to have better and more robust first line regimens with fewer side effects, and affordable second and third line regimes, in every country across the world, for this is a global epidemic. The right to health is a basic human right. It is also in the interest of all countries to enable their citizens to live long and productive lives. This right should not be pitted against the drive for more and more profits by manufacturers who see the potential of selling more ARVs at higher prices because of their monopoly rights through patents and other barriers of second and third line regimens, and diagnostics, which will all become critically important in lowering community viral load to undetectable levels. But that potential of large profits will never be realized because countries cannot and will not afford such high prices. and people like me who develop drug resistance will die. They will die because the world community will have failed to jointly address the problem.
The time for coveting large profits from Middle Income Country markets, negotiating FTAs with TRIPS+ clauses, opposing the use of compulsory licences, restricting voluntary licences, and originator pharmaceutical companies buying out generic companies, has long since come to an end.
Yes to innovation, yes to true leadership on universal access, but unless there is collaboration and cooperation by all stakeholders towards an agreed goal of affordable, effective and sustainable treatment for all, using whatever strategies best serve the world community, we will fail.
Living with HIV or dying from AIDS should not depend on where you live or the average per capita GDP of your country. The fruits of science, which is a human endeavour, should, especially in health, be available to all humanity, not just a select few. If innovation and leadership require the development of a new paradigm to reach that goal, then let’s do it.”