During the 1990s and early 2000s generic competition drove down the prices of ARVs. Without these massive price reductions, nearly a million additional people would be dead or dying now in South Africa. In 2005 many generic producing countries, including India, became TRIPS compliant. This means that medicines developed since 1995 cannot as easily be produced by generic companies operating in India.
Pressure is being applied by the European Union on the Indian government to sign a bilateral trade agreement that will further stifle competition on essential medicines still under patent. The problem goes beyond ARVs. It will apply to any new medicine that is developed, whether it be for cancer, diabetes, tuberculosis or a future epidemic. Undoubtedly, this will prove to be detrimental to everyone regardless of social class and geographic location. We should all be concerned.
High Commissioner for India to South Africa
Post Box No. 40216
Arcadia - 0007 Pretoria
By Fax: +27 12 342 5310
Dear Mr Bhatia
General Secretary Researcher
TREATMENT ACTION CAMPAIGN
SECTION27 (incorporating the AIDS Law Project)