HIV MEDICATIONS: CONFIRMATION THAT QUALITY IS DUBIOUS

ICW Argentina, Buenos Aires, September 20, 2005
HIV MEDICATIONS: CONFIRMATION THAT QUALITY IS DUBIOUS
NO MINISTRY OF HEALTH APPROVAL OF MEDICATION WHICH IS BEING DISTRIBUTED

In the appeal for legal protection being heard by Judge Dr. Maria C Carrion de Lorenzo, at National Court Number 7 (located on Carlos Pellegrini 685, 4th floor, Buenos Aires), brought by the NGO "International Community for Women living with HIV/AIDS – Argentinian National Chapter" under the name "Perez Patricia Mónica and another", the defendant "the National Executive – Ministry of Health" has failed to
provide the list of AIDS medicines which have undergone and passed the
obigatory controls which are a condition for their distribution and sale.

At this stage in the court proceedings, the Ministry has refused before the Judge to provide the names of medications for treatment of AIDS which have undergone and passed compulsory quality testing.

The Ministry has tried to hide behind their supposed "discretional power" to determine the controls and approval process to allow the distribution of AIDS medicines. This goes against its own policy, enshrined in resolution 40/00, which requires as a compulsory measure the quality controls and approvals recommended by the World Health Organisation.

It is also surprising that the Ministry does not consider the quality of AIDS drugs to constitute a "public health risk" for the general population, despite specific WHO recommendations in this sense.

The Ministry also claims that the HIV positive women who initiated the court action do not have grounds for their case, since to date they have not suffered concrete harm caused by the quality of medication provided by the government. This implies that according to the Ministry, there is no need to prevent harm – but that harm should have occurred before action is taken. In this case, such harm would be irreversible and fatal harm.

All this demonstrates the Ministry’s ommission to ensure that compulsory studies take place, or to approve only those drugs which have passed the controls and been presented for approval according to the legal procedures.

In summary, we ask ourselves what is behind the government’s policies on procurement and sale of AIDS drugs? Why are people who are sick with AIDS not being guaranteed quality medication distributed by the government or approved for sale?

Minister Gines does not even appear to be intimidated by the specfic directives of President Kirchner contained in Decree 1172/03 which promotes free access to public information, or by article 15, under which any civil servant who stands in the way of public access to information about government acts "would be considered to be gravely at fault".

On this day, justice will speak and decide.

Patricia Pérez
ICW.

Dr. Miguel Ignacio Guruceaga
Legal Advisor to ICW
Tª 54 Fª 823 CPACF