Subject: [cwj 72] G8 needs to do more in the battle against AIDS
From: Corporate Watch in Japanese <>
Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2000 13:53:27 -0700
Seq: 72

G8 needs to do more in the battle against AIDS=20

July 21, 2000=20

MSF denounces U.S. Export-Import Bank's offer of $1-billion in loans for
AIDS in Africa=20

Press release: New York/Okinawa-21 July, 2000 - The international
medical relief agency M=E9decins Sans Fronti=E8res (MSF) today denounced
the fanfare surrounding the announcement of the United States
Export-Import Bank's offer of $1 billion in loans to African countries to
fight AIDS, and called on G8 nations to provide a serious, sustainable
response to the AIDS pandemic. While MSF strongly encourages
international support to improve access to treatment for people with
AIDS, the organization believes that this kind of offer falls far short of
the need and detracts attention from more appropriate solutions.=20

"This grandiose gesture is a wolf in sheep's clothing," said Joelle Tanguy,
executive director of the United States section of MSF. "The loans
require poor countries to purchase expensive U.S.-produced drugs, which
will limit dramatically the number of patients treated. Furthermore,
offering loans to countries already wracked with debt will only further
strain fragile health economies in the developing world."=20

MSF strongly supports the ability of poor countries to manage their
own drug-purchasing programs and to seek the lowest prices on the
market, often provided through generic manufacturing. The
Export-Import Bank's loan announcement claims that the loans would
"help make the overall cost of medicine and supporting infrastructure as
low as possible." However, even at a discounted rate, U.S.-produced,
patented drugs are more expensive than locally produced generic drugs.
Even if the price of anti-retroviral drugs were reduced by 85 percent, the
new discounted prices would still be higher than generic prices. An MSF
study released last week at the XIII International AIDS Conference
showed that it is feasible to bring the yearly treatment cost of
anti-retroviral drugs down drastically.=20

"This initiative does more to consolidate the monopoly of the
pharmaceutical industry on life-saving drugs than it does to save lives,"
said Ms. Tanguy. "The Bank's announcement has grabbed a lot of
attention due to the recent visibility of the AIDS crisis in Africa-both in
Durban and Okinawa-but it does not advance significantly the fight
against AIDS. The G8 nations must mobilize and do better."=20

The need remains for more efficient and sustainable enlistment of
international public resources to battle the epidemic. These efforts
should extend beyond sub-Saharan Africa to all affected developing
nations and should take advantage of the low prices available through
quality generic production.=20

The Export-Import Bank, a U.S. government-held corporation, stated in
its announcement that it is "a trade agency, not an aid agency," and that
its primary purpose is "financing creditworthy U.S. exports and creating
U.S. jobs." Its mission is not to respond effectively to the AIDS crisis.
The Bank is funded by the US Congress, and its Board is appointed by
the US President and approved by the US Senate. The funding for loans
comes from US taxpayers and from interest earned.
Corporate Watch in Japanese
Transnational Resource and Action Center (TRAC)
P.O. Box 29344
San Francisco, CA 94129 USA
Tel: 1-415-561-6472
Fax: 1-415-561-6493
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