Activists gathered to campaign against the harmful provisions which the EC is pushing for in its Free Trade Agreement withIndia, which would block access to cheap, generic drugs for the developing world.
The harmful provisions in the EU-India Free Trade Agreement would make it extremely difficult forIndiato produce generic medication. Currently 80% of AIDS medication is bought by NGOs from India. India is known as the pharmacy of the developing world, and the European Commission want to close it down.
Outside of the European Commission office in London, we set to work depicting our scene of EU greed blocking vital access to medication for the world’s poorest.
Five of our enthusiastic campaigners acted as greedy EU ‘fat cats’, complete with European flags and fist fulls of money. Next to the EU officials we set up our own well stocked, low cost pharmacy with its own working pharmacologist.
The rest of our activists wore HIV Positive t-shirts, and desperately tried, and failed, to reach the pharmacy of essential medicines. After the EU officials blocked the way to the pharmacy and its life saving medication, our HIV positive patients ‘died’ beside tombstones engraved “Killed by EU greed”.
Our fantastic acting skills, and amazingly loud chanting, caught the attention of Christine Dalby, Deputy Head of Representation and Head of Political Sector at the European Commission in theUK, who came out of her office to talk to us.
“We are angry at the EU’s immoral and hypocritical actions – they must listen to the people, not the big pharma” said Cat Currie, Stop AIDS Campaign.
We clearly set out our demands to Ms. Dalby, and urged her to take action to stop the FTA attack on essential medicines. Christine Dalby agreed to pass our concerns on, and promised to forward our letter on to the Trade Commissioner in Brussels. When asked what we should do to stop the EC from proceeding with the harmful provisions, Christine Dalby replied “Exactly what you’re doing”.
We then moved our attention to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, to demand that theUKtake the lead in stopping the harmful FTA provisions. Whilst re-enacting our scene of the closing down of the pharmacy, activists chanted “UK, no way, stop the FTA!” Campaigners handed in a letter to representatives of Vince Cable urging him to speak up for the people of the UK and not for big pharma.
Our visual and eye catching scenes showed all too accurately what could happen if the EU continue with their damaging Free Trade Agreement clauses, which will effectively close down the pharmacy of the developing world.
“It was great to see people standing in solidarity with the millions of people currently treated with the safe, life saving treatments that India provides. I just hope the European Commission listens to the international calls to drop parts of the FTA which could block access to medicines, and puts millions of peoples lives before the profits of a few.”, Joe McArthur, Stop AIDS Campaign activist.
By Cat (Student Stop AIDS Campaign Intern)