On May 7th and 8th a large group of experts from various Caribbean islands and European countries will be attending a conference on St. Maarten at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort. The main objective of the consultation is to discuss how Sint Maarten can reduce the prices on HIV/AIDS medicine (anti-retrovirals – ARVs). 

The option that is being explored and will be discussed at the meeting involves opening access to generic anti-retroviral drugs and intellectual property rights. Current challenges that this meeting will seek to overcome is the fact that under St. Maarten’s constitutional structure we are not allowed to purchase generic versions of ARV drugs due to intellectual property rights and various treaties St. Maarten is associated with.

Therefore, at the two day conference participants will review the challenges St. Maarten is facing when it comes to getting access to affordable treatment in St. Maarten, gain an understanding of the various Dutch Laws that affects the access to affordable medicines (ARVS) in St. Maarten, and ultimately identify appropriate strategies that will support access to affordable medicines (ARVs) in St. Maarten. Currently, St. Maarten does have access to treatment for everybody who is diagnosed, however compared to other countries in the region our prices are much more expensive.

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 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."