For Immediate Release

In Genoa contact: Asia Russell +1 267 475 2645
or Sharonann Lynch +39 33 577 61 583

22 July 2001

G8 Meeting no "Summit for Life":

Face-Saving Fund will Deny Treatment Access for Millions with AIDS

At the close of the troubled G8 summit today, AIDS activists responded to the G8's calculated decision to exploit the AIDS crisis as proof of harmony and compassion among the heads of state.

"The G8 showed the world they are deeply committed to hollow gestures-and not to garnering the billions in new resources necessary to turn this crisis around," said Health GAP Coalition member Sharonann Lynch. "$1.3 billion means the Fund will be a study in planned failure. How much preventable death will the G8 tolerate before taking real action?"

"New Africa Initiative"

Activists also challenged Bush's claim that Africa is a "US priority" under the rubric of the G8's just announced "New Africa Initiative." "Bush's refusal to increase dismally low US aid to Africa is a disaster when his administration continues the practices of global apartheid as it backs Big phrma over the lives of the poor.

Rift between EU and US on cheap AIDS drugs

Activists also responded to the conflict between EU member countries and the US over the subject of access to affordable AIDS treatment that went unaddressed during the summit. "The fašade of agreement among the G8 about fighting AIDS is hypocrisy. Bush stands out in his maneuvering to protect the super profits of Big Pharma, opposing countries that support sustainable treatment access strategies, such as generic competition, that have been proven to drive down prices to within reach of dying people with AIDS," said Asia Russell of Health GAP Coalition.

EU member countries are apparently moving toward support for AIDS treatment purchase using a bulk procurement model and the Bush Administration insists that drug company charity-which has been ineffective in driving prices down to affordable levels for more than a few thousand people-should drive treatment access efforts. ("U.S. at Odds with Europe Over Rules on World Drug Pricing" Don McNeil, The New York Times, 20 July 2001.)

And on the protests, Health GAP Coalition said: "The hyper-focus on sporadic violence by a minority of protesters during this summit is a distraction from the violence the G8 and their backers commit every day with deadly economic policies that target the most vulnerable of the world, especially people with AIDS and other diseases of poverty."

Health GAP Demands:

Sharonann Lynch
Health GAP Coalition

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