[DEBATE] : ACTUP Paris: WTO medicine patent deal a failure
mfleshman at aol.com
mfleshman at aol.com
Mon Nov 13 17:49:22 GMT 2006
from the Healthgap list. thnaks to Paul Zeitz for this information.
5 years later, the WTO deal on access to medicines is a failure G8 leaders must step up
ACT-UP Paris For immediate release, november the 7th
On November 14, 2001, the World Trade Organization’s ministerial conference in Doha, Qatar, agreed on a deal for access to medicines: the “Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health”1. According to this deal, developing countries would henceforward be allowed to bypass drug patent monopolies that stop the flow of cheap generic medicines from countries like India into regions like Africa.
Five years later, according to data published by the World Health Organization, 74% of AIDS medicines are still under monopoly2 and 77% of Africans still have no access to AIDS treatment3. In the Philippines, in Indonesia, in Niger, in Botswana or in Haiti, not a single generic version of antiretrovirals is available3
in 2006, even though these countries have 8 different anti-HIV molecules on the market: all of these drugs are patented versions that the poor can’t afford.
This situation flies in the face of article 5 (b) of the 2001 Doha Declaration, which affirmed that “Each Member State of the WTO has the right to grant compulsory licenses and the freedom to determine the grounds upon which such licenses are granted”. In contrast with a voluntary license, which can only be granted voluntarily by the patent owner, a compulsory license can be granted by the government, without the consent of the patent owner. However, in practice actual use of this procedure since 2001 has been
“ Use of the Doha Declaration provision is almost impossible in practice, because of the political pressure exerted by the Bush administration “ reveals Dr Pedro Chequer4, who until recently was the Director of the National AIDS Program of Brazil. “That’s exactly what happened to Brazil last year, when we tried to use compulsory licensing”.
“At Cipla, so far we have been able to make generic versions of the HIV medicines that were invented before the WTO and the subsequent globalization of patents” explains Dr Yusuf Hamied, CEO of Cipla5.“However, if the Doha Declaration remains unused, generic manufacturers like us will be unable to make affordable versions of the latest HIV innovations – for instance the very promising integrase inhibitors –
because such recent medicines are now globally patented”.
At the Gleneagles summit in 2005, the leaders of the G8 countries committed to reaching universal access to AIDS treatment by 2010. Their first order of business to reach their new goal should be to remove all blockages to the flow of affordable medicines in developing countries. Act Up-Paris calls on G8 leaders to declare the WTO agreement on intellectual property no longer applicable to essential health products in developing countries.
Contact: Khalil Elouardighi – Act Up-Paris – +33 6 63 15 38 82
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