Import tax hurting AIDS drug access - US

KENYA: Import tax hurting AIDS drug access - US

JOHANNESBURG, 4 Feb 2005 (PLUSNEWS) - The US ambassador to Kenya, William Bellamy, has urged the East African Community to lift the import duty on antiretroviral medication.

A new 10 percent tax levied by the region's customs union is impairing the availability of anti-AIDS drugs and was cause for concern, said the East African Treatment Access Movement, an AIDS advocacy group.

At a meeting with Kenyan Vice President Moody Awori, Bellamy said anti-AIDS drugs were not luxury goods, and could prolong the lives of scores of people.

The BBC quoted Bellamy as saying: "I urge the government of Kenya to join forces with the governments in Tanzania and Uganda to permanently and immediately exempt antiretrovirals from duty, regardless of who is importing them."


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