A topnotch WordPress.com site
In the mid-1990s in sub-Saharan Africa, HIV and AIDS were decimating the populace. Families, communities and workplaces were torn apart by these crippling and debilitating conditions and there didn’t seem to be any end in sight. At that time, HIV medicine cost a staggering $10,000 per person per year. And that world just seemed to accept that many people were priced out of treatment and there was nothing that could be done about that.
But that wasn’t the prevailing opinion for everyone and so changes were made. In fact, what really made the biggest different was the availability of quality, affordable, generic medicines that were being produced in India. There was a lot of competition between the producers and hardly anyone in India with the condition, and as such, the price dropped enormously. Today it costs around $100 for a year’s treatment.
For the large organisation Médecins Sans Frontières, around 80 percent of the HIV drugs that are used across the globe are manufactured in India. So a recent decision in India’s Supreme Court was completely critical. While the case centred on a drug to treat cancer, the implications reached far beyond cancer and far beyond India itself. The judges’ landmark decision will help ensure the supply of cheap medicine for millions of the world’s poorest people.
If the medical company Novartis had won their case, they would have been granted patents in India that would be as broad as they are in wealthy countries. The people living with HIV would have soon found their medicine costs skyrocketing. With Novartis’s loss in the courts, India can continue to produce and supply affordable medicines.