DURBAN – The French wing of the international AIDS activist group, Act UP, disrupted conference proceedings yesterday (Tuesday) when they sounded a horn, blew whistles and chanted slogans during a presentation by the director of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Gro Brundtland.
The symposium entitled “Outstanding issues in the international response to HIV/AIDS” was being chaired by the Speaker of Parliament, Dr Frene Ginwala.
The activists accused the WHO of offering “active and criminal resistance to the distribution of antiretroviral treatments in poor countries”.
Act Up said that the WHO had been mandated in May by its member states to accelerate the process which leads to access to treatment and prophylaxis of HIV/AIDS. As part of this mandate, the WHO was tasked to provide assistance to manufacturers of affordable medicines so that drug registry could be accelerated and mobilised.
“A full two months later, there is not a single thing to show for this mandate,” ACT UP said in a statement.
The demonstrators chanted slogans of “medication for every nation” and “break the patents, access for all” – referring to the patent rights of the international drug companies which enabled them to sell anti-AIDS drugs at higher prices than those for generic versions of the same medication. – Health-e News