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GUE/NGL MEPs denounce greed of pharmaceutical companies during HIV/AIDS debate

Commenting on the Commission’s statement welcoming the UN high-level meeting on HIV/AIDS taking place this month in New York, Spanish MEP Lola Sánchez Caldentey said that words are not enough:

“The EU must support the development of medicines that are widely available to people and that are not only made to serve the interests of big pharmaceutical companies.”

Caldentey denounced the system of intellectual property rights in the pharmaceutical industry:

“People in less developed countries should have access to medicines regardless of intellectual property considerations which the pharmaceutical companies continue to exploit.”

Caldentey argued that “a majority of people affected by HIV/AIDS are still not able to access the latest medicines because of the insistence of pharmaceutical companies to hold on to their patents.”

The Spanish MEP said that condoms are the most important means to avoid transmission during sexual relations and that female condoms should be considered on par with male condoms.

Spanish MEP Lidia Senra followed with a concrete proposal for the EU to convey during the upcoming high-level meeting: 

“There should be an effort to end discrimination and social stigma against people suffering from HIV/AIDS; the EU must apply pressure on countries that still have laws that criminalise HIV/AIDS patients”.

“Universal access to public health services including sexual and reproductive health, and to medicines must be guaranteed. This means putting an end to the monopoly of pharmaceutical companies and the business of patents.”

Senra concluded by calling for research to be kept as a public good and in the service of people “instead of financing an industry that works in its own interests over and above the universal right to health with public money.”