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Africa: New Commitments on AIDS Treatment
Nov 7, 2003 (031107)
(Reposted from sources cited below)
Despite footdragging by the Bush administration on full funding
both for its own initiative and for multilateral efforts, there
has been a recent flurry of announcements of new commitments to
treat people with AIDS who lack access to antiretroviral drugs.
Former President Clinton, whose administration first opposed
South African efforts to import generic drugs, has announced a
new agreement with one South African and three Indian generic
drug manufacturers that will reduce prices by almost a third.
Clinton Foundation support will enable expanded treatment in
South Africa, Mozambique, Uganda, Rwanda, and several Caribbean
countries. The World Health Organization is reaffirming plans to
provide treatment for 3 million people by 2005. Brazil has
announced a bilateral deal to manufacture antiretrovirals in
Mozambique. And Canada has introduced legislation that would
also allow ramping up exports of generic drugs (though that
legislation still has flaws - see note below).
Yet all these efforts not only require time and additional
funding to implement, but also face fierce opposition from
pharmaceutical industry giants. Recent estimates from UNAIDS say
that of 6 million people needing AIDS treatment worldwide, only
5 percent are now receiving the drugs. In Africa, the fraction
is only 1 percent, less than 50,000 people of an estimated 5
million needing treatment. The gap between promises and reality
of lives actually saved is still enormous.
This issue of AfricaFocus Bulletin contains a variety of updates
and action notices on this topic. Please note particularly:
(1) The current fundraising tour of several U.S. cities by
Zackie Achmat and Nonkosi Khumalo of South Africa's Treatment
Action Campaign. Events are planned next week in New York and
the following week in both the Bay Area and Los Angeles. For
those in other areas, there is a link to contribute on-line to
(2) The call to action for a demonstration in Washington on
November 24 - one week before World AIDS Day - from Healthgap
and allied groups.
++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note+++++++++++++++++++++++
Treatment Action Campaign (South Africa) U.S. Tour
In November of 2003 two leaders of South Africa's dynamic AIDS
activist organization, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) are
visiting several U.S. cities. Zackie Achmat, the founder and
Chair of the Treatment Action Campaign Nonkosi Khumalo,
organizer with TAC's Women's Health Programs, spoke at the
Public Welfare Foundation in Washington, DC on November 6.
Other public events on their tour, with contact information,
Monday, November 10, 10:30-12:30 PM. GMHC, 119 W. 24th Street,
4th fl., Tel: 212-367-1016
Monday 10, 4-5:30 PM. Columbia University Uptown Health
Sciences Campus, Alumni Auditorium, Black Building, 630 W. 168
Street (at Ft. Washington). Tel: 212-305-9539
San Francisco Bay Area
Monday, November 17, 6-8 PM, Sponsored by Priority Africa
Network, Laney College Forum, 900 Fallon Street, Oakland CA
For more info on this and other events in the area Tel: 510-
527-4099 or 415-284-7800, ext. 5 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday Evening, November 18. Public Fundraiser Sponsored by
Artists for a New South Africa For complete information, Tel:
310-204-1748 or http://www.ansafrica.org
For more information on the Treatment Action Campaign and to
make tax deductible donations, http://www.aidssouthafrica.org
KAISER DAILY HIV/AIDS REPORT
A service of kaisernetwork.org
WHO Needs $9B To Treat Three Million HIV-Positive Individuals
With Antiretroviral Drugs by 2005
Access this story and related links online:
The World Health Organization will need up to $9 billion to
treat three million HIV-positive individuals in developing
countries with antiretroviral drugs by 2005, Paulo Teixeira,
director of HIV/AIDS at WHO, said on Thursday, Reuters reports
(Reuters, 11/6). WHO Director-General Dr. Jong-Wook Lee on
Sept. 22 during a U.N. General Assembly special session on
HIV/AIDS in New York City announced WHO's commitment to the
"three-by-five" plan and declared the lack of access to
antiretroviral drugs a global health emergency. The new
strategy will use rapid response techniques to deliver
antiretroviral treatment and will provide emergency response
teams to governments requesting assistance in expediting drug
delivery (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/27). The campaign
will be launched on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, 2003, in Nairobi,
Kenya. According to Teixeira, only 5%, or 300,000,
HIV-positive individuals who need antiretroviral drugs
currently have access to them. "We are already late," Teixeira
said, adding, "We cannot go on waiting for social and economic
change in developing countries to tackle this problem." He
added, "Our eventual aim is that some day there will be free
and universal access to [antiretrovirals] for everyone
suffering from HIV and AIDS." The entire campaign will need
between $7 billion and $9 billion to accomplish its goal, and
WHO will need an additional $200 million in 2004 and 2005 to
support its part in the program, according to Teixeira. The
reaction from donor countries has been "positive" and there
are "signs" that countries will offer support, Teixeira said
HEALTHGAP CALL TO ACTION:
PROTEST BUSH IN WASHINGTON, D.C. NOV. 24
For more information, activist organizing materials, updates
and other resources: see http://www.healthgap.org/WAD.html
A WORLD AIDS DAY CALL TO ACTION from ACT UP Philadelphia, ACT
UP New York, Africa Action, Housing Works, Student Global AIDS
Campaign, CHAMP, African Services Committee, Health GAP,
Prevention Point Philadelphia, New York City AIDS Housing
Network, the American Medical Students Association, and the
AIDS Policy Project
TAKE ACTION ONE WEEK BEFORE WORLD AIDS DAY
AND SEND A MESSAGE TO THE WHITE HOUSE
There will be 100 million people living with HIV by the end of
the decade--but according to UNAIDS, the AIDS crisis is only
in its infancy.
Join hundreds of people living with HIV and their loved ones
in a powerful protest at the White House in Washington DC on
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 24. We will step off from McPherson Square
(15th and K Sts., NW) at 12 noon.
- Protest because President Bush lied when he told our nation
during his State of the Union Address, that "we have
confronted, and will continue to confront, HIV/AIDS in our own
country,² and he lied when he said the U.S. government will
"respond as generously as we can² in fighting AIDS in
sub-Saharan Africa and around the world:
- In fact, President Bush is allowing people with HIV right
here in the United States to die because they cannot afford to
overpriced AIDS medicines
- Bush claims to want to cut new HIV infections in the U.S.
in half, from 40,000 to 20,000 people, but he is refusing to
fund the comprehensive HIV prevention programs that would
achieve this ambitious HIV prevention goal.
- Bush is _increasing_ HIV prevention funding to unproven,
misleading "abstinence-only" HIV prevention programs targeting
people at high risk of HIV infection such as young people and
low income women, even though these programs forbid educators
from providing facts about condom use (see:
- President Bush is aggressively blocking full funding of the
cash-strapped Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, even
though it is the only multilateral program that is up and
running and saving lives now.
- Bush is fighting alongside the greedy pharmaceutical
industry for new so called "free trade" deals--including the
Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and the Southern
African Customs Union--that will stifle access to cheap,
generic medicines in poor countries.
- President Bush would rather spend $4 billion for a month of
occupation in Iraq, than spend the full $3 billion in 2004
that was authorized by Congress and that is the _minimum_
needed from the U.S. next year alone to prevent 8500 daily
unnecessary AIDS deaths.
- Protest because President Bush is putting reactionary and
arch-conservative values before vital HIV/AIDS services and
research in the United States and around the world.
- Bush Administration officials are targeting renowned
scientists doing federally funded research involving gay
people, sex workers, and injection drug users, setting off a
chill among scientists who thought their work was separate
from the realm of dirty politics.
- Bush is presiding over witch hunts targeting AIDS service
organizations that have criticized Bush AIDS policies, that
support comprehensive sexuality education, and that serve
sexually active gay men. These witch hunts have taken the form
of endless audits and harassment, although none of these
organizations have never been found to have violated any
- The Bush Administration's implementation of the "Global Gag
Rule" is undermining vital HIV prevention efforts targeting
women and children in some of the hardest hit nations in the
world (see http://220.127.116.11/globalgagrule).
For all these reasons, and many more, please join efforts for
this demonstration to demand justice for people living with
HIV/AIDS--in the United States and around the world.
After so many deadly lies and distortions from the President
and the Administration, isn't it time to bring your anger to
the White House?
HOW YOU CAN HELP MAKE THIS DAY OF ACTION A SUCCESS:
--Be in Washington DC on Nov. 24: help organize your
community, family, agency staff, clients, co-workers, or
support group to be a part of this protest. Ask people to take
off work, cancel appointments, give your staff the day off, do
lunch at the protest, and be in Washington DC on November 24.
--Donate: many of the organizations working on this protest
are low budget community organizations. Your contribution will
go a long way toward ensuring that people on the front lines
in the struggle for justice make it to Washington to demand
change. About $1000 pays for the cost of one bus of 47 low
income people, including food, tolls, gas and tip.
--Spread the word: write a letter to the editor objecting to
Bush's AIDS lies in your local paper: for background materials
and sample letters, see http://www.healthgap.org/WAD.html
--Work together: organizers in Philadelphia, New York City,
Washington DC and Baltimore can help you plan events in your
community to help get the word out and mobilize people for
this event. Give us a call!
For information regarding transportation from Philadelphia,
Baltimore, and New York City, as well as local organizing
efforts in Washington DC, contact:
In Philadelphia: Asia Russell at (267) 475-2645 or
email@example.com In Manhattan: (212) 222-3882 extension 115;
in Brooklyn: (718) 802-9540 or firstname.lastname@example.org In
Washington DC: Beth Pelletieri at (202) 210-8313 or
Bill C-56 bill on medicines for developing countries is flawed
The House of Commons should amend the bill and get it right
7 November 2003
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network /
Reseau juridique canadien VIH/sida
For more information: Richard Elliott, Tel :(416) 595-1666; email:
relliott@AIDSLAW.CA Media contact: Elana Wright, (514)
397-6828 ext. 259
For additional information, including a backgrounder and other
materials on the issue of the Patent Act amendment, see:
TORONTO - The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network called today on
all parties in the House of Commons to ensure that Bill C-56
is amended before it is passed. The Network said that, if
necessary, this means they should take additional time to
address the serious flaws in the bill, rather than making
mistakes by acting too hastily.
The bill is intended to amend the Patent Act by allowing
generic pharmaceutical companies to make lower-cost medicines
for export to developing countries to deal with their public
health problems. But as currently drafted, Bill C-56 provides
that a brand-name pharmaceutical company has the right to
take over a contract that a generic manufacturer has
negotiated with a developing country. If they do so, the
generic manufacturer cannot get a licence to make the
medicine and export it.
"This leaves generic companies unable to fulfil contracts they
negotiate with developing countries, and removes any
incentive for them to even bother negotiating contracts in
the first place," said Richard Elliott, Director, Legal
Research & Policy. "As a result, developing countries cannot
effectively give licences to generic manufactures to make
their cheaper medicines. This means we won't actually end up
seeing lower prices, from either generic companies or
brand-name companies. Developing countries won't see the
benefit that this bill is supposed to deliver."
The Legal Network also rejected as inaccurate any claim that
WTO rules require this approach that is currently found in
Bill C-56. In a decision reached at the end of August, all
WTO member countries agreed to relax patent rules so that
"compulsory licences" could be issued to generic companies,
allowing them to make lower-cost medicines for developing
countries. "The WTO rules do not impose this as a requirement
for this type of legislation," said Elliott. "What WTO rules
require is that the brand-name company holding the patent
gets to either negotiate the terms of a voluntary licence
that it gives to a generic company, or the Commissioner of
Patents can issue a compulsory licence to the generic company
and fix the terms. Under WTO rules, Canada is not required
to give brand-name companies this extra opportunity block any
licence for a generic company at all."
"The government has taken the important step of introducing
this bill," said Richard Elliott, Director of Legal Research
& Policy. "We fully support this initiative, and have been
calling on the government to take this sort of step for
years. But the legislation as drafted is seriously flawed,
and the government risks undermining its own very worthy
Mozambique, Uganda To Get New AIDS Drug Factories
November 6, 2003
UN WIRE http://www.unwire.org
The effort to increase the accessibility of antiretroviral
drugs in Africa, where infection rates run as high as 30
percent in some places, got a boost yesterday from two sources
- a pledge from Brazil to build an AIDS drug plant in
Mozambique and a Ugandan company's proposal to manufacture
During a visit to Mozambique, which has an HIV infection rate
of 16 percent, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
said yesterday his country would "produce antiretroviral drugs
here ... in the shortest possible time." He gave no specific
timetable for construction. The Mozambique plant will be one
of three AIDS drug plants that Brazil will build in Africa.
Brazil, which has successfully manufactured cheap AIDS drugs
and boasts an infection rate of less than 1 percent, is in a
unique position to lend support to the HIV/AIDS campaign in
Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano welcomed the pledge.
"The fight against HIV/AIDS is one of the greatest challenges
to us and we are confident that Brazil's ... rich experience
in this regard will be a valuable contribution to our struggle
against the epidemic," he said
(BBC, Nov. 5 <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa>).
In Uganda, the Kampala-based company Quality Chemicals, which
has been importing generic antiretrovirals from an
Indian-based company for several months, announced yesterday
it intends to set up a factory before 2005 to produce
antiretrovirals. The drugs would cost users less than 50
cents per day.
"We are working closely with the Ministry of Health and [the]
Uganda AIDS Commission to have this facility in place,"
company director Emmanuel Katongole told
<http://www.irinnews.org> Integrated Regional Information
Networks yesterday. "We should be able to find a way."
But AIDS activists have said the claim is too ambitious.
"There are a lot of things that have to be done before you can
start producing drugs in a factory," said Rosette Mutambi, of
the Coalition for Health Promotion and Social Development. "I
don't see how they will get this up so fast. I suspect this
is partly a publicity exercise for the company."
"In the meantime, we need to look at getting our hands on
cheaper drugs and more of them," she added.
Uganda, where an estimated 100,000 people are living with
AIDS, has already seen some improvements in the procurement of
antiretrovirals. Funds contributed by the
<http://www.clintonpresidentialcenter.com> Clinton Foundation
are expected to help reduce the price of a year's treatment to
as little as $120, while the Ugandan government recently
committed itself to actively pursuing the importation of
generic antiretrovirals (IRIN, Nov. 6).
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