20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014)


AIDS 2014: Michael Kirby on Intellectual Property and Drug Pricing (Video)

September 5, 2014

IFARA spoke with Michael Kirby, a member of the UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights and the UNDP Global Commission on HIV and the Law, about intellectual property rights and life-saving medications. Kirby estimated that hepatitis B and C together now affect more people than does HIV. Medication is available to cure hepatitis C, but a 12-week course of treatment costs US$84,000 in the U.S., while it only costs about US$80 to manufacture the drug. Even discounted versions sold in low-income countries cost US$600 (Egypt) to US$2,000 (India).

In light of these facts, Kirby believes that global intellectual property law must be adjusted to reconcile the fundamental human right to health with an inventor's right to be compensated for his or her inventiveness. He said that the International AIDS Conference is "the one time when medical people, scientists, activists and troublemakers all get together ... to learn from each other." The success against HIV in some countries, such as Australia and the U.S., is due to the interaction of civic society and science, he stated. Kirby called on legislatures and, above all, citizens to take the initiative on removing the legal barriers to HIV prevention and treatment, such as laws on drug use and intellectual property.

Watch the video to learn more:

The video above has been posted on with permission from our partners at the International Foundation for Alternative Research in AIDS (IFARA). Visit IFARA's website or YouTube channel to watch more video interviews from the conference, as well as earlier meetings.

Barbara Jungwirth is a freelance writer and translator based in New York.

Follow Barbara on Twitter: @reliabletran.

Copyright © 2014 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

This article was provided by TheBodyPRO.

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