Mr. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India
Mr. J. P. Nadda, Health Minister
Ms. Sushma Swaraj, Foreign Minister
Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Commerce Minister
Date: 31st July 2018
Sub: Asking India to support TRIPS flexibilities in UN High Level Meeting on TB
Dear Mr. Modi, Mr. Nadda, Ms. Swaraj and Mr. Prabhu,
We, the undersigned, would like to draw your attention to the ongoing negotiations on the Political Declaration on the Fight against Tuberculosis in New York. It is well recognized that tuberculosis, including its drug-resistant forms, is a critical challenge and the leading infectious disease cause of death, the most common form of antimicrobial resistance globally.
Governments are set to finalize the political declaration, two months in advance of the first high-level TB meeting in New York on Sept. 26.
However, due to US pressure on behalf of its pharmaceutical industry, language (PP19, OP14) on using Public Health related TRIPS flexibilities to ensure access to affordable TB medicines, vaccines and diagnostics, were weakened in the draft of the TB Political Declaration circulated on 20th July.
The current text includes a cruel joke that “IP rights are an important incentive in the development of new health products.” For TB this is manifestly not the case. It is widely acknowledged that IP directs investment choices away from public health needs of developing countries such as TB considered less profitable and steers investments to areas where pharmaceutical corporations can maximize profits for diseases affecting more affluent populations.
In fact, to address the TB R&D needs, the TB declaration calls on governments to contribute appropriately to research and development and increase financing in order to close the estimated US$ 1.3 billion gap per year for tuberculosis research.
However language on the norms that should govern such funding has been weakened and undermined by the current draft text (OP 20 and OP22) in the draft of the TB Political Declaration circulated on 20th July.
OP22 should be harmonised with the 2016 Political Declaration on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) which clearly states the need to “delink cost of investment in research and development from the price and volume of sales so as to facilitate equitable and affordable access to new tools and other results to be gained through research and development”.
South Africa broke the silence procedure on 24th of July and re-opened the negotiations to address these concerns. We applaud South Africa for this courageous step in speaking up and call on India to support South Africa on its principled position.
We urge the Indian government to strongly support the inclusion of appropriate language on – TRIPS flexibilities and de-linkage of research and development from price and volume of medicines – in line with the recommendations of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines.
- All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN)
- ARK Foundation
- Citizen News Service
- Community Network for Empowerment (CoNE), Manipur
- Daisy Dharmaraj, TEST Foundation
- Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+)
- Empower India
- Global Coalition of TB Activists
- HepCoN, Nagaland
- Hepatitis Coalition of Sikkim (HepCoS)
- Hopers Foundation, Chennai
- Indian Drug Users’ Forum, IDUF
- International Treatment Preparedness Coalition, ITPC – South Asia
- Kohima Users’ Network, Kohima, Nagaland
- Kripa Foundation, Nagaland
- Lawyers Collective
- Mizoram Drug Users Forum
- Meghalaya Drug Users Network, MeDUNet
- Nagaland Users’ Network, Nagaland
- South Indian Drug Users Forum (SIDUF)
- South Indian Harm Reduction Network (SIHRN)
- Touched By TB
- Tripura state network of positive people
- Western Harm Reduction Network, WHRN
- Alex Lunminthang, HIV/HCV co-infected
- Alok Mohan, Social Activist
- Arumugam Sankar, Activist
- Bazo Kire, TB activist
- Blessina Kumar, TB Activist
- Bobby Khumanthem, Activist for Harm Reduction, HIV and TB
- Cedric Fernandes, Sahara, Pune
- David Thapa, TB Activist, Delhi
- Balasangameshwara Vollepore, Managing Partner, ANVITA
- Dr Dhuni Soren, Retired Family Physician, NHS, United Kingdom
- Dr Manan Ganguli, Health consultant, Ekta Niketan TB Centre, Jharkhand
- Mira Shiva, Initiative for Health & Equity in Society and Research Foundation for Science, Technology & Ecology
- Nidhin Joseph
- Sunitha Varghese, Public health Physician, Uttar Pradesh
- Edwina Pereira, Child First Foundation
- Eldred Tellis, Sankalp Rehabilitation Trust
- Ganesh Acharya, TB survivor & TB/HIV Activist, Maharashtra
- Imrana Qadeer, Council for Social Development
- Ivyreen Warjri, HCV/TB Activist, Meghalaya
- Ketho Angami, Treatment Advocate, Nagaland
- Loon Gangte, TB/HIV/HCV Activist
- Moses Zofaka Pachuau, Health Activist, Mizoram
- Nandita Venkatesan, Journalist and TB Advocate
- Nini Pakma, Recovering Drug User
- Prashant Sharma, Activist, Sikkim
- Renbonthung, TB Activist, Nagaland
- Rhea Lobo, TB Activist
- Shabab Alam, Social Activist
- Sudha Nagavarapu, Independent researcher and activist, Bangalore
- Sutirtha, Drug User Activist
- Tilak Mutum, TB Survivor
- Vekhoto Puro, Espoir Society, Nagaland