Don't let Pharma & Europe lock away new HIV meds

Five million people worldwide have access to HIV treatment, thanks in large part to the availability of cheap generic medication produced in India. India has a history of standing up to Big Pharma, and supporting access to life-saving generic medication. But right now, India is being pushed by Pharma and the European Union to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that would expand protections for pharmaceutical companies and hinder production of new generic HIV medications. [1]

Not only would this agreement have disastrous consequences for the lives of millions of people around the world who rely on generic medication - it would severely hinder the US global AIDS program (PEPFAR). Generics, mostly from India, account for 75% of the HIV treatments purchased by the US government.

Will you email the US Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer and ask him to encourage Indian Prime Minister Singh to continue to fight for access to medicine?

Because the US government purchases mostly generic medication instead of expensive name-brand medication, PEPFAR has saved over $325 million from 2003-2008, according to a State Department report. [2] So, not only would the EU-India FTA virtually eliminate the chance of ensuring access to treatment for everyone with HIV, it would also cost the US government significantly more to continue providing treatment to those we're already supporting.

India is deciding whether or not to agree to expanded protections for Big Pharma in the next few days, so please email Ambassador Roemer now.

Here's how the EU-India FTA would limit generic availability - Generic drug companies demonstrate that their products are identical to brand-name companies' products, and then rely on brand name companies' drug trials to show their drugs are safe and effective. 'Data exclusivity' prevents generic companies from doing this by making it illegal for them to use the safety data already generated by the brand-name companies; instead, generic companies are forced to redo the clinical trials, which is prohibitively expensive, medically unethical, and delays access to treatment. The EU-India FTA sets the period of 'data exclusivity' at ten years. So, for the decade until the 'data exclusivity' on each new medication expires, important new, less-toxic HIV medications (which are widely available in the US) will simply be priced out of reach of millions who need them.

India doesn't have to agree to this! Please email Ambassador Roemer now, and then forward this email to your friends and ask them to join you in taking action.

Thank you!

[1] Indian Prime Minister must resist European pressure to trade away health, Doctors Without Borders/MSF

[2] Use of Generic Antiretroviral Drugs and Cost Savings in US HIV Treatment Programs, US Department of State