Statement by India delivered during the 43rd Programme Coordinating Board Meeting of UNAIDS on Agenda Item 7 by Dr. Sadre Alam, First Secretary (WHO HQs, 11-13 December, 2018)

Statement by India delivered during the 43rd Programme Coordinating Board Meeting of UNAIDS on Agenda Item 7 by Dr. Sadre Alam, First Secretary (WHO HQs, 11-13 December, 2018) 

Thank you, Madam Chair. 

1. We thank the secretariat for the useful background document providing an update on the important issue of access components of the UNAIDS 2016-2021 strategy and containing relevant recommendations. 

2. Access to safe, effective, quality and most importantly affordable medical products, technologies and services to fully meet the needs of prevention and cure is key to ending the AIDS epidemic and at the heart of UNAIDS mandate. Without universal access, the highest attainable standard of health cannot be enjoyed by everyone.

3. Right to health is a fundamental human right of individuals, grounded in their inherent dignity and equal worth. Intellectual Property Rights on the other hand is a legal right of individuals or entities and that human rights take precedence over a legal right. This fact is acknowledged in the provisioning of TRIPS flexibilities for the cause of public health. IPR is only one of the ways to promote innovation and its application should not be at the expense of a basic and fundamental human right that underpins all other rights.

Madam Chair, 

4. We are concerned that persistent access barriers to HIV/AIDS health care remain and new challenges loom. Many countries experience periodic shortages and stock outs of supplies. 

5. More than 80% of the quality antiretroviral drugs used globally are supplied by the Indian pharmaceutical industry that makes a substantive impact on global public health and health costs. We are committed to ensuring that the quality and affordable generic ARV drugs from India continue to be available to all those who need it especially in low and middle income countries with the highest burden and lowest affordability. 

6. UNAIDS should support and promote the full use of TRIPS flexibilities, development and use of generic medicines as substitutes and local manufacturing of medicines and vaccines, the appropriate use of traditional medicines for enhancing, both access and choice and the full exploitation of new and emerging technologies including digital technologies for enhancing access. 

7. UNAIDS should mobilize and provide all necessary assistance, cooperation and resources through proactive advocacy and by fostering multi-stakeholder partnerships for pooled and local R & D, help build national capacities and strengthen the health systems for ensuring access. 

8. The proposed UNAIDS programme of work should aim at paving the way for realising the goal of three zeroes through the progressive achievement of genuine and equitable access to all health products, technologies and services including and not limited to medicines and vaccine for all in a measurable and time bound manner. 

9. We support the original draft decision. 

Thank you.

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