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.
So, one can imagine that, in a developing country with escandalous prices for Hep C medicines, decide if there is a Public Interest issue should be a matter of five minutes debate. Especially if we are talking about a country with a financial crisis in the health system.
Today, October 28th, The organizations whom asked for a Public Interest Declaration for Hep C DAAs (IFARMA, REDLAM, el Comite para la Veeduría ciudadana en Salud – CVCS) are celebrating the third “happy birthday” of this request. We Celebrate, yes, because we collected hundreds of pressure events and the process is still alive. This process was closely related if the imatinib case, and both were bombed with letters from Swiss and USA embassies, from USA congreeses, Chambers of commerce, section 301 from the USTR threats, and recently, blocking to the intention of Colombia to be accepted in the OECD.
It is interesting to highlight that the request in 2015, was presented in a “petition Right”, The Colombian rigth of any citizen to ask any Government office demanding an answer on any matter. By the law, any petition as this one, must be solved in 15 labor days.
It is also interesting to mention that, the new government was received with a public letter by Pharma, instructing (ordering) the new Minister to “close” the process.
By he is still alive. Thanks to the decision of the former Minister and his officials, the presure from the CSOs (more than 20 local CSOs backed the request in various occasions) and, probably, thaks to the financial crisis of the health system.
So, joint us to sing happy birthday , and to hope we can celebrate the Public Interest Declaration soon.