Skip to main content

AIDS

Volume 455: debated on Wednesday 10 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the impact of the outcome of the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions talks with pharmaceutical companies on the availability of affordable HIV/AIDS treatments in (a) developing countries and (b) least developed countries. (108736)

We welcome any serious attempt at getting AIDS drugs more accessible and affordable for those who need them. Partnerships between employers, unions and manufacturers are an integral part of what is needed to see progress in tackling HIV and AIDS in developing countries.

We have not made a detailed assessment of the impact of the outcome of the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions talks with pharmaceutical companies on the availability of affordable HIV/AIDS treatments. We would certainly encourage the pharmaceutical sector to do all it can to make essential drugs more easily available and affordable to poor countries.

This is why in 2005, the Department for International Development (DFID) published a framework for good practice in the pharmaceutical industry to help increase access to essential medicines that treat diseases of poverty including HIV/AIDS in all developing countries. DFID continues to subscribe to the framework’s principles and welcomes all efforts to improve both access and affordability, including through differential pricing and negotiating agreements to lower the price of HIV/AIDS treatments. Our support to UNITAID, the new drug purchase facility, is helping to do this, most recently with the assistance of the Clinton Foundation.

We hope that it will be possible for both parties to reopen negotiations at some stage in the future, given the potential benefits overall. Trade Unions as well as companies play a vital role in efforts to tackle AIDS. Working with employees in large, small and medium sized companies, in the formal and informal sectors—and in the public and private sectors—Trade Unions can support the implementation of effective company work place policies. In turn this will ultimately reduce the impact of AIDS on employees and businesses.