[W]e did not develop this medicine for Indians…[w]e developed it for western patients who can afford it.
Pure evil mastermind Bayer Pharmaceutical CEO Marijn Dekkers on his company’s new cancer drug Nexavar.
The drug, which is particularly effective on late-stage kidney and liver cancer, costs approximately $69,000 per year in India, so in March 2012 an Indian court granted a license to an Indian company to produce to the drug at a 97 percent discount.
Bayer sued Natco Pharma Ltd., but in March of last year, the High Court in Mumbai denied its appeal. Dekkers called the compulsory license issued by the Indian court “essentially theft.”
Nexavar costs approximately $96,000 per year in the United States, but Bayer assures“western patients” that they can have access to the drug for a $100 copay.
I’ve been linking to this recent study (cited below as “Jana et al., 2013”) a lot in discussions on trafficking and how ‘rescue’ orgs perpetuate violence against sex workers, but I know that it’s behind a pay wall. So I’m posting a summary of what the article said, for those who can’t access it. This is an excerpt from an academic paper I wrote on sex worker organizing in India and how it functions as a form of resistance to interpersonal and structural violence. If you’re going to quote it, link back to me. Thanks. (A link to the other source cited here: SANGRAM/VAMP Team, 2011)
Sex workers in the Sonagachi red light district of Kolkata, West Bengal have been organizing formally since 1995 as the DMSC [Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee], and they’ve been notably successful in helping the trafficked women and children in their midst. (Jana et al., 2013) The group has implemented a total of thirty-three self-regulatory boards, eight in Kolkata itself and twenty-five elsewhere in the state. (Ibid) Through community outreach and careful documentation of the changes that are noted in these outreach efforts, the members of DMSC identify trafficking victims and provide “assistance with reintegration— to return home or find alternative placement.” (Jana et al., 2013:2) Unlike the state, sex worker organizations do not detain or forcibly repatriate victims but provide them with options from among the community’s social and financial resources. (Jana et al., 2013) (SANGRAM/VAMP Team, 2011)
The DMSC also has several programs in place to help prevent trafficking through educational and economic empowerment of women and their children, including “savings and credit schemes [that] have reduced dependency on sex work.” (Jana et al., 2013:1) Further, all of these initiatives protect the privacy of the victims first and foremost, unlike the state-sponsored raids. (Jana et al., 2013) The success of these programs is therefore measurably greater than those initiated by local police and NGO’s: a full 80% of successfully rescued trafficking victims in the state of West Bengal between the years of 2009 and 2011 were rescued by DMSC. (Ibid)
ETA: And here’s why you should start listening to actual sex workers and stop relying exclusively on academia as the only valid source of information, i.e. fuck you and your respectability politics (another excerpt)
There is one final method of sex worker organizing that serves as a form of resistance against violence, and it is often overlooked because the violence it combats is indirect. It is a method of resistance present in both Jana et al.’s study on human trafficking and the case review written by Ahmed and Seshu: getting involved in academic research. Smarajit Jana is a member of DMSC, and Meena Seshu is the head of VAMP. Through their insistence on shaping academic discourse, they are challenging institutionalized prejudices against sex workers and sex work experiences and producing a new scholarly body of knowledge that can affect the amount of funding given to structurally violent governments and NGO’s for the purposes of ‘rescuing’ workers.
Sex workers need to be leading this discourse, and I made damn sure to cite those directly involved instead of perpetuating neocolonialist academic bullshit. The fact that I couldn’t out myself as a sex worker in this paper because of the threat of expulsion was enraging and humiliating, and I wish to god I could call out the whorephobia in that course from a position of authority without risking my education.
In conclusion: FUCK THAT SHIT (Ibid)
December 11, 2013
The Indian Supreme Court has struck down a 2009 ruling by a lower court to decriminalize homosexual sex and will uphold the ban. India’s gay community was “disappointed” by the ruling and declared it was a “black day” for LGBT rights.
In Wednesday’s hearing the Supreme Court said that the Delhi High Court overreached its authority by ruling against the ban in 2009. The Delhi High Court moved to abolish Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which classifies anal sex as “carnal intercourse against the order of nature,” in 2009.
"It is for the legislature to look into desirability of deleting Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code," the Supreme Court said on Wednesday.
Section 377 was introduced into the Indian legal system during British colonial rule in 1861.
Those found breaking the law banning homosexual intercourse can be punished by a fine and a maximum jail sentence of 10 years.
Before making the decision, justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya heard the appeals of representatives of various LGBT organizations as well as those of religious groups who decried the previous High Court ruling as against the cultural and religious values of the country.
LGBT activists who were in attendance at the hearing visibly broke down when the ruling was pronounced and said the verdict had “taken away their right to life,” reported the India Times.
"Such a decision was totally unexpected from the top court. It is a black day," Arvind Narrain, a lawyer for the Alternative Law Forum gay rights group, told reporters.
September 11, 2013
A disturbing new report on sexual assault released by the United Nations reveals that one in four men have admitted to raping a woman once in their lives for entertainment, punishment and revenge amongst the top reasons listed, IBT reported.
The study which was published in the British Medical Journal The Lancet and conducted by the World Health Organization in the Asia-pacific region involved interviewing 10,178 men aged between 18 and 49 years old in Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea about engaging in non-consensual sex.
Almost 75 percent of those interviewed said they committed rape because of “sexual entitlement,” or as form of punishment because the man was angry:
“They believed they had the right to have sex with the woman regardless of consent. The second most common motivation reported was to rape as a form of entertainment, so for fun or because they were bored. Perhaps surprisingly, the least common motivation was alcohol,” report author Dr. Emma Fulu said.
The study also highlighted, poverty, personal history of violence and victimization as contributing factors that led to rape crimes.
Dr. Michelle Decker of John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore said the findings should generate global outrage particularly in light of recent high profile rape cases such as the New Delhi student gang rape case in India:
“More than half of non-partner rape perpetrators first did so as adolescents, which affirms that young people are a crucial target population for prevention of rape. The challenge now is to turn evidence into action, to create a safer future for the next generation of women and girls,” she said in an interview with BBC.
The report comes amidst the news that prosecutors of the four men found guilty of the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old in New Delhi, India in December say the men should face the death penalty for the crime that shocked the “collective consciousness,” of the people, BBC News reported.
In an address to Judge Yogesh Khanna, public prosecutor Dayan Krishnan said on Tuesday that the “sentence which is appropriate is nothing short of death”.
In December, the female student was tricked into boarding an out-of-service bus by the men before they violently raped and tortured her. The woman was flown to a Singapore hospital but subsequently died of her internal injuries as a result of the rape.
The incident sparked international outrage and widespread protests across the country calling upon the government to introduce harsher penalties for serious rape cases as well as increasing prison sentences.