Monday, December 04, 2006

Stop HIV/AIDS in India Initiative Calls for National Guidelines to Treat Children in India

Dr. Vineeta Gupta was a recent guest of Dr. Kaung's Salon. She writes:

Hi friends of SHAII.
Please do send our press release to your list-serves and help get the message across. Thanks!
Best, Vineeta

Stop HIV/AIDS in India Initiative

Press Release

India’s initiative to provide low-cost pediatric formulations to 62 countries welcomed

Non-resident Indians and international advocacy groups urge India to reject proposal to adopt the Data Exclusivity provisions to its Drugs and Cosmetics Act in order to maintain its leadership in providing low-cost medicines worldwide

Contact: Dr. Vineeta Gupta, Phone 202-789-0432, Ext. 207, Email:

Washington DC, World AIDS Day: December 1, 2006 — The Stop HIV/AIDS in India Initiative (SHAII) is joined by the Students Global AIDS Campaign (SGAC), American Medical Students Association (AMSA), Global AIDS Alliance (GAA), and Global Action for Children (GAC) in welcoming India’s initiative to provide low-costpediatric formulations to 62 countries and to expand its own treatment outreach to children living with HIV/AIDS. SHAII and her partners have been campaigning for the provision of pediatric formulations through government programs, as opposed to providing children with fractions of the adult medication, which often results in over or under dosage.

“Although it is a great initiative, with less than 100 physicians trained to treat India’s more than 250,000 children living with HIV/AIDS, adopting a narrow and target-based approach to increase treatment access from 1048 to 10,000 children in four months without a strong policy framework and guidelines may prove to be counterproductive,” said Dr. Vineeta Gupta, Director of SHAII.

India must immediately develop and implement national guidelines based on a holistic approach, not only for the treatment, but also for the protection, support, and care of orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS in order to make this initiative really effective,” added Dr. Gupta. Dr. Gupta served as a maternal and childcare physician in India’s public healthcare system for over a decade and has witnessed the pitfalls and failures of target-based healthcare programs.

The initiative to provide low-cost pediatric formulations reinforces India’s leadership in providing global access to AIDS medication. This leadership is under grave threat, as India is considering Data Exclusivity amendments to the Indian Drugs and Cosmetics Act (DCA). If adopted, these amendments will severely impede the future production of low-cost generic medications. Under the current Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement of World Trade Organization (WTO), India is not obligated to impose data exclusivity regulations. The WHO has additionally affirmed this view, yet there is strong pressure from the United States and multinational pharmaceutical companies to enact these provisions. "The pressure from the US is responsible for the Indian government's move to introduce data exclusivity. This needs to be exposed by the global civil society," said Gopa Kumar of the Center for Trade and Development, India. Of the 1.6 million people living with HIV/AIDS receiving ARVs worldwide, more than 50% rely on Indian generic medicines.

Vineeta Gupta
Director, Stop HIV/AIDS in India Initiative
Phone 202-789-0432 Ext 207