CPTech Statement on Bush's State of the Union Announcement

January 30, 2003

"It was very good to have the President include the announcement in the State of the Union, and to provide such high profile and high expectations to the funding of treatment. As others have pointed out, the prices he quoted for drugs were from generic manufactures, and their sale will be illegal in 37 African countries without compulsory licenses on the Nevirapine and 3TC patents.

"At some point, the relevant actors, including NGOs, African governments, the Global Fund, the EU and the US should get around to making it legal to buy these cheap drugs in the dozens of Africa countries where generic HAART cocktails based upon 3TC and or Nevirapine are blocked by patents.

"It will be good to look at the details, which are often a disappointment on these things. And also, a special concern is that the funding for treatment not be linked to bilateral trade or political issues. We were surprised to see Zimbabwe and some other countries off the list of countries in the early announcements, and given what we see in terms of bilateral trade pressures on paragraph 6 negotiations and on the FTAA and various FTA negotiations, it should be transparent if there is any linkage between country political policies and access to medicines from these new funds.

James Love

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