20 years ago, Brazil passed the Law 9313/1996, which guaranteed free access to HIV/AIDS medication in Brazil. To commemorate this anniversary, the Brazilian Interdisciplinary Association (ABIA) and the Grupo de Trabalho sobre Propriedade Intelectual (GTPI) – an activist group coordinated by ABIA – will host the conference, “Policies for Access to Medication and Human Rights” from 9/26 till 9/28 at the Hotel Vila Galé in Centro, Rio de Janeiro. Registration is online and free and should be done from the following link: http://migre.me/uXUIL
This event will bring together both Brazilian and international activists, stakeholders, and specialists notable speakers to include Lynette Mabote, of the AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA, South Africa) and Sergey Golovin, International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITCP, Russia), among others. Celso Amorim, former Foreign Affairs Minister of Brazil and the current Chair of Unitaid’s Executive Board, has confirmed he will participate in the conference’s opening session.
Topics will include current challenges, possible pathways, and the continued role of Brazil in the question of universal access to medication. ABIA and GTPI intend for this conference to offer contributions to strengthen both international and domestic HIV and AIDS responses, as well as to elaborate and enhance strategies that support human rights. ABIA and GTPI hope to demonstrate that the challenges of inclusion not only depend on technical decisions, but on political commitment to a human-right’s-based focus as well.
The distribution of free antiretroviral medication (ARVs) in Brazil was a global health milestone, as well as a victory for human rights. As a political message, it showed that it was possible to confront the high costs of drugs, even at that time. The law’s passing coincided with two other significant events: the discovery that a single combination of 3 different ARVs could transform HIV from a fatal disease to a treatable one; and the passing of Brazil’s patent law, which created the open use of generic ARVs. Both were fundamental for free and universal access within the Brazilian United Health System (SUS).
For the past 20 years, constant tensions between market regulations and human rights have been a focal point of debate amongst activists, specialists and researchers. This is not only true for Brazil, but the rest of the world as well. At the center of this debate, is the seeming incompatibility of intellectual property laws/regulations (specifically pharmaceutical patents) with the concept of the right to health and life.
The question of right to access has become so prominent that the UN Secretariat General, Ban Ki Moon, convened a High Level Panel for the issue in 2015. 16 specialists from various parts of the world served as its members. The panel was created during a moment of intense debate over the high price of patented medication, and the UN has recently released a summary of their conclusions.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are 15 million individuals globally on ARV therapy, yet some 22 million continue to lack access. The WHO has estimated that the expansion of both ARV therapy for those living with HIV/AIDS, along with the expansion of various HIV prevention options, could help avoid around 21 million AIDS related deaths, and 28 million new infections, by 2030.
“Policies for Access to Medication and Human Rights” is an historic meeting of Brazilian and international specialists and activists. The conference will promote an exchange of ideas and experiences on how this problem may be addressed from a global viewpoint.
Polices for Access to Medication and Human Rights
Date: September 26-28, 2016
Location: Hotel Vila Galé, Rua Riachuelo, 124, Lapa (RJ)
Monday, September 26
6:00PM – Opening Conference
Sr. Celso Amorim, Presidente do Conselho Executivo da Unitaid
Welcoming Remarks: Sr. Richard Parker, Diretor-Presidente da ABIA
7:30PM– Reception and Publications Launch Myth vs. Reality: the Brazilian HIV/AIDS Response in 2016 and Corporate Restrictions and Local Production of Medication
Tuesday, September 27
9:00 AM – Sustainability, Health Systems, and Human Rights
– Richard Parker (ABIA): Neoliberalism of the HIV Response and the Dismantling of the Brazilian HIV Response
– Lynette Mabote (ARASA): Implementation Strategy for 90-90-90 with New or Old Medication?
– Lorena Di Giano (FGEP/RedLAM): Latin America’s Experience in Medication Access: Recent Developments and Other Challenges.
Moderator: Carlos Duarte (GAPA/RS)
2:00PM – Incorporating Practices, Medication, and Rights: Therapeutic Activism in Perspective.
– Veriano Terto Jr. (ABIA/GTPI): The Construction of the Access Agenda in Social Movements.
– Javier Llamosa (AIS-Peru): Atazanavir in Peru
– Wame Mosime (ITPC): Botswana Dolutegravir in Botswana
– Mayra Vásquez (Ifarma): Imatinibe Mesylate in Colombia
– Othman Mellouk (Make Medicines Affordable): Access to 2nd and 3rd Tier ARVs in Middle Income Countries.
4:30 PM – BREAK
4:45 PM, Human Rights, Pharmaceutical Corporations, and Commercial Regulations
– Gonzalo Berrón (Vigência): Corporate Restrictions, Democracy: the Role of Human Rights.
– Haliton Oliveira (Researcher): Local Production of Medication and Corporate Restrictions: an Analysis of the Brazilian Case.
– ABIA/GTPI: When Patents Are Life-Threatening: Pharmaceutical Corporations, Commercial Regulations, and the Pushback of Civil Society.
– Nicole Verillo (Transparency International):
Corruption and Pharmaceutical corporations: A Renewal of Votes (to be confirmed)
– Anna Monteiro (Alliance for Tobacco Control (ACT)): Between Business and Rights: A Case Study of the Fight Against the Tobacco Industry.
6:00 PM – Closing
Wednesday, September 28
9:00 AM- 20-20-20: The Universal ARV Access Law, The Debut of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART), and The Patent Law.
– Pedro Chequer: The Passing of Law 9.313 and HAART
– Anand Grover (Lawyer’s Collective): The Global Implications of Universal Access Policy in Brazil (via video).
– Renata Reis (IE/UFRJ) (to be confirmed): The Passing of the Patent Law and the Universal Access to ARVs Law
– Dr. Rosinha (to be confirmed): The Fight and Resistance in the Brazilian Parliament in Regards to Patents: What Has Changed 20 Years Later?
Moderator: Maria Andrea Loyola (IMS/UERJ)
12:30PM – Lunch Break
2:00PM – Hepatitis C: New Treatments, Old Challenges
– Eloan Pinheiro (independent consultant): What is on the Horizon for Hepatitis Treatment.
– Mariana Mazzucato (University of Sussex): How do High Prices Threaten Health Systems?
– Marcelo Freitas (PN de DST, AIDS and Hepatitis): New Treatments, Clinical Protocol, and the Challenge of Universality (to be confirmed).
3:30 PM Break
3:45PM Activist Strategies to Expand Access Rights
– Arair Azambuja (MBHV): Universality of Access to Treatment: The Role of MBHV
– Pedro Villardi (ABIA/GTPI): AIDS e HCV: Solidarity for Universality
– Sergey Golovin (ITPC-Ru): Compulsory License and Access to Medication: Russia
5:00 PM Closing