Saturday, August 23, 2003

Global: WTO close to a deal on generic drugs

The Financial Times reports that negotiators from the US and developing countries are close to reaching a deal which would allow developing countries to access/manufacture generic drugs.
When the Doha round was launched in late 2001, governments pledged to prevent WTO patent-protection rules blocking the supply of medicines to treat serious health problems such as HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis in poor countries.

However, attempts to implement that commitment have suffered repeated setbacks. The US single-handedly rejected last December a draft agreement because of objections by its pharmaceuticals industry.

... Under the compromise plan, the US would accept the December draft agreement. But in addition, as many as 30 developed and developing countries would give assurances that compulsory licensing would be used strictly for genuine health reasons and not for commercial advantage.