Congressman Jair Messias Bolsonaro, 63 years old, was elected on Sunday (28) Brazil’s new president. AIDS activists told the National AIDS Agency what they expect from Bolsonaro in regards to the country’s policy. And they were unanimous: the guarantee of access to antiretroviral provided by the Universal Health System (SUS) and the maintenance of the current AIDS policy.
Just a few medicines are life-saving. Snake bite antivenoms. Antibiotics in specific cases. HIV medicines. And recently, hepatitis C Direct Accion Antivirals. No one could say that, if there is any restriction to any human been in need of any life-saving medicine, it is not a Public Interest Situation. It is not necessary to remember the shocking prices of Hep C medicines IN DEVELOPED COUNTRIES.
We have so much respect for intellectual property in South Africa that at present we grant patents without examining whether the patents are merited. Government has finally started a process to institute a patent examination system, but this will take time to get off the ground. For now, we continue to give away patents without scrutiny.
Eighteen years after the Durban conference, government efforts to increase medicine access – beyond HIV treatments – have been excruciatingly slow. Though ARVs are now widely available, many more shocking cases of injustice in access to essential medicines remain. It should not be so. We can change it, now.