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St. Maarten exploring options to reduce HIV medicine prices

TUESDAY, 07 MAY 2013

PHILIPSBURG–A large group of experts from various Caribbean islands and European countries will be attending a conference at Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort May 7-8 to discuss how St. Maarten can reduce the price of HIV medications.

The main objective of the consultation is to discuss how the young country St. Maarten can reduce the prices of HIV/AIDS medication such as antiretroviral (ARV) drugs. An option to be considered at the meeting involves opening access to generic ARV drugs and intellectual property rights.

A current challenge this meeting will seek to overcome is the aspect of St. Maarten’s constitutional structure that prevents the purchasing of generic versions of ARV drugs due to conflict with intellectual property rights and various treaties with which St. Maarten is associated.

Therefore, at the two-day conference, participants will review the challenges St. Maarten is facing with regard to obtaining access to affordable treatment in St. Maarten, gaining an understanding of the various Dutch laws that affect the access to affordable medication such as ARV drugs in St. Maarten and ultimately identifying appropriate strategies that will support access to affordable medication in St. Maarten.

St. Maarten currently has access to treatment for all those who are diagnosed, but prices are significantly higher than in other countries in the region.

The conference is being hosted by the Caribbean Community Caricom Secretariat/Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS Pancap, in collaboration with the German International Cooperation GIZ, EPOS Health Management and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).

Financial support for the implementation of this activity is being provided by the German International Cooperation GIZ together with the EU under the project “Strengthening the Integration of the British and Dutch Overseas Territories in the Regional Response to HIV/AIDS through Pancap.”

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