Buenos Aires, August 27th 2015 – Members of Grupo Efecto Positivo Foundation (FGEP) accompanied by other civil society organizations and representatives held a direct action during the 2015 Hepatitis International Symposium organized by Fundación Huesped.

The action aimed to denounce monopolies and high prices of drugs to treat hepatitis C and took place during the presentation of Dr. Rafael Esteban, representative of American pharmaceutical company Gilead. This pharmaceutical company has requested in Argentina am illegitimate patent to maintain a monopoly on the drug sofosbuvir that cures hepatitis C, a disease that approximately 800,000 people suffer in our country.

With banners calling for an end to patents, the lower prices of medicines and affordable access to treatment, activists from RedLAM, the Argentine Network of Positive People (Redar Positiva), the Buenos Aires Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS, the Argentina Network of Women Living with HIV/AIDS, the HCV Without Borders Foundation and other people who are fighting for sustainable and universal access to treatment joined this pacific demonstration.

In contrast to the presentations of multinational pharmaceutical companies, that not permitted the discussion of pricing policies or any subject linked related to access to treatment, the symposium began with the words of the National Minister of Health, Dr. Daniel Gollan, who spoke to make clear that «If the Government does not regulate the access to treatment of viral hepatitis, people will be excluded, and that is unacceptable.» The Minister stressed that the Government «wants to ensure access to treatment for all, and the biggest challenge nowadays is the price.»

In accordance with the statements from the Minister, FGEP identifies access to treatment as a main goal and prices as the main barriers. Therefore we will continue demonstrating against the pharmaceutical industry that want to impose their conditions embellishing their speech and ignoring the demands of civil society for the end of illegitimate patents.