“Pills cost pennies, greed costs lives!” rang out the call from a committed band of Stop AIDS campaigners stationed outside Novartis HQ, Horsham, at 9am on the morning of 19 September. Convened as a response to Novartis’ continued efforts to contest India’s refusal to patent Glivec (a cancer medication), this time at the level of Indian Supreme Court, the protesters dressed as Cluedo characters in order to convey their whodunit message.

One month ago if someone had told me that I was soon to be found on a 7.15am train dressed as Colonel Mustard (complete with fake-moustache and ill-fitted monocle), and learning colourful chants for a demonstration, I would have smiled, perhaps reminisced about my undergraduate days, and then assured them of their mistake, after all I have a 9 to 5 job now …

…That was a month ago, since then I have started work for Restless Development and fallen into step with a Stop AIDS dynamic duo, Kate Shayler (Restless Development) and Lotti Rutter (Stop AIDS Campaign). A lot can change in a month!

“Pills cost pennies, greed costs lives!” rang out the call from a committed band of Stop AIDS campaigners stationed outside Novartis HQ, Horsham, at 9am on the morning of 19 September.

Convened as a response to Novartis’ continued efforts to contest India’s refusal to patent Glivec (a cancer medication), this time at the level of Indian Supreme Court, the protesters dressed as Cluedo characters in order to convey their whodunit message.

Whimsical fancy-dress aside, at the heart of this movement is a serious message. Should Novartis prove successful in its case the precedent set could prove catastrophic to the health and well-being of the world’s poorest people – of which youthful demographics remain a disproportionately vulnerable group.

Aid agencies across the globe have petitioned Novartis to drop the case, fearing that the ripple effects might undermine India’s position as an anti-evergreening mecca of affordable pharmaceutical production. Médecins Sans Frontières are already on record citing the court case as an outright ‘attack on generic medicines’ and Oxfam dub it a ‘massive threat’ to the world’s poor.

In particular it is feared that Novartis’ endless pursuit of increased profit-margins might undermine the global response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic, threatening the huge benefits brought by affordable access to medication and attempting to snatch away victory just as it seemed within our reach.

However, as this event proves this threat has not gone unnoticed, STOP AIDS networks (including STUDENTS STOP AIDS CAMPAIGN) have been mobilized, and the message is clear:

“WHEN PEOPLE WITH AIDS ARE UNDER ATTACK. WHAT DO WE DO? ACT UP, FIGHT BACK!”


For more information please refer to the following article:

http://stopaidscampaign.org/2012/09/novartis-stop-strangling-the-supply-of-affordable-medicines-from-india/


Written by The Student Stop AIDS Campaig

The Student Stop AIDS Campaig

The Student Stop AIDS Campaign is made up of young people who believe the world's response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic is insufficient and unacceptable.