Speaking Notes with RCEP Negotiators

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen the negotiator of RCEP from 16 countries.

My name is Sindi, I work for Indonesia AIDS Coalition and part of Affordable Medicines Coalition, which is a network of the patient groups, CSOs from many background and health activists.

I’m living with HIV, Hepatitis C and autoimmune in my body. I was diagnosed by HIV in 2004, on that time the information about HIV and AIDS was still very limited. Doctor only told me “yes, you are HIV positive, your life is just counting time, there’s no medicines for this illness.” So I don’t take any medicines until 2009 when I was hospitalized and just realized it is because of my HIV, since I don’t get the right treatment that I should get since the beginning. In 2010, I take my first ARV, for free because the government can provide it for people living with HIV in Indonesia. I said to my self, if since the beginning I was told that there’s medicines for my HIV, I would stay healthy and keep productive to reach all my dreams. And that same as all my friends who also living with HIV in Indonesia.

Since 2010, I had learned why doctor had said there’s no medicines for HIV, because at that time the price of ARV still very expensive, the access for ARV still very limited for the government to provide and even I knew there’re medicines for HIV I still cannot afford to buy by myself . But since there’re ARV generic, so many people living with HIV in Indonesia and in the world can be safe.

I believe that the availibility of generic medicines can safe many life as it is more affordable. But nowadays with mega trade agreements like RCEP being negotiated there are fear among patients group that we wouldn’t be able to access medicines anymore because its expensive. Should we died because there’re medicines for life saving but its very expensive and we can not afford it? I guess it isn’t right because it is our right to get health not as use it as commodity.

With the TPP trade agreement on life support – and the plug expected to be pulled any time now – RCEP could be the new benchmark for the ‘worst-ever trade agreement for access to medicines’.

The potential inclusion of harmful intellectual property provisions in RCEP such as patent term extension, data exclusivity could endanger millions of people around the world who rely on affordable generic ARVs.

There is a risk that hard-won gains achieved in the treatment of HIV/AIDS can be reversed by adopting these proposed harmful provisions. 

Countries like Indonesia have managed to expand HIV treatment by using safeguards like Compulsory License. Now, as people living with HIV are dying due to TB and Hep-C, there is need for public programs to step up and provide us treatment.

We are worried that RCEP provision that restrict generic competition will make it impossible for governments to use these safeguards and to continue to provide us with treatment for HIV and other infections.

Ladies and gentlemen.

There are estimation about 600.000 PLHIV in Indonesia, only about 50 thousands of them who can access the ARV. There are estimation 3 million people living with Hepatitis C in Indonesia, 15 thousands of them died every year because of cirrhocis.

Indonesia is developing countries not all people who can afford those expensive medicines. For HIV case, government of Indonesia only can afford the first line ARV, because of the price matter. While the 2nd line still depend on Global Fund which will face out soon.  I believe there are a lot of people will be safe not only in HIV, TB or Hepatitis C but other diseases, if the generic competition is opened to give affordable price of medicines.

Please stop waging war against us.

Also, we urge you to make these consultations transparent and make the text of negotiations public as it affects our lives.

Thank you. 

Sindi Putri
Affordable Medicines Coalition

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