Patents and medicines

other choike reports
Source: Pambazuka
The 18 to 23 July International AIDS Conference held in Vienna this year, subtitled ‘Rights Here, Right Now’ was a platform to raise, yet again, the values-based universal and indivisible human rights and the political commitments that inform our response, globally, to the unacceptable level of new HIV infection and mortality from AIDS. At the same time the shrinking provision of aid to low income countries and persistence of avoidable inequities globally in the progressive realisation of these rights starkly raises the reality of the competition between social rights to health, and private rights to intellectual property. [see more]
The rising prices of medicines and the tragedy of millions of AIDS victims in poor countries, who cannot pay for the medicines they need to stabilize the disease, have aroused widespread concern and put on the agenda a debate on the generally high cost of these drugs and medicines.

The other important issue under discussion is that of equal opportunities for both developed and developing countries to obtain the medicines that their populations need in order to fight a range of diseases, among which the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa constitutes a real tragedy.

Trade regulations have much to do with this. World Trade Organization's patent rules -whether raising prices or restricting exports of generic drugs- directly affect the price that developing countires pay for the medicines. Meanwhile, transnational farmaceutical industries claim that "weakening international patent rules would not help AIDS victims". They blame inadequate infrastructure, cultural barriers and political corruption, terms so general that it is difficult to identify specific culprits.

In November 2001 the fourth WTO Ministerial meeting at Doha, Qatar, declared that WTO patent rules should not prevent WTO member countries from taking measures to protect public health or promote access to medicines for all. However, WTO members couldn’t agree on some “sensitive issues”. In August 2003, some days before the fifth Ministerial Meeting at Cancun, a “solution” was reached. According to civil society it could mean a backlash to Doha.

Civil society is not only worried about the WTO when caimpaigning against patents. Some organizations have dennounced that negotiations are currently underway for a new international treaty on patents. This instrument would create a new patent regime, monitored by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a UN agency based in Geneva.

Developing countries are struggling for their interests to be included in these negotiations, encouraged by the "failure" of the WTO Ministerial Conference that took place in Cancun in 2003. Together with civil society organizations, third world countries have shown that it is possible to confront transnational companies: patents have not won the battle yet.
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UPDATES
Friday, September 10 2010
HIV/AIDS: Intellectual property rights or human rights?
(Source: Pambazuka)
Monday, July 27 2009
Flu outbreak sparks controversy on patents and the poor
(Source: Third World Network)

World Trade Organization

Resource Book on TRIPS and Development (IPRsonline)

TRIPS (trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights) (WTO)

Fourth WTO Conference - Doha 2001 (Choike)

Fifth WTO Conference- Cancún 2003 (Choike)

The agreed “solution”

Trade-related policy coherence and access to essential medicines (ICTSD)

TRIPS and public health (Infochange India)

Implementation of paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and public health (WTO)

The new 'deal' on TRIPS and drugs: what does it mean for access to medicines? (TWN)

Flawed WTO drugs deal will do little to secure future access to medicines in developing countries (Oxfam)

The 30 August 2003 decision: will it improve access to affordable medicines in poor countries? (Action Aid)

Aids, patents and medicines

HIV/AIDS: Intellectual property rights or human rights? (Pambazuka)

New report shows up to 500% price rise for much needed AIDS medicine (MSF)

Health before patents, at any cost (SUNS)

Call for moratorium on trade provisions that threaten access to medicines (Doctors Without Borders)

AIDS: wealth before health (Choike)

Civil society: campaigns and resources

The slippery slope of negotiations on public health, innovation and intellectual property (People's Health Movement)

Joint NGO statement on influenza virus sharing (Third World Network)

Big Pharma: part of the problem or part of the solution? (Focus on the Global South)

Getting cheap medicines to the sick (Third World Network)

South deprived of life-saving drugs (TWN)

Cut the Cost (Oxfam)

Cutting the cost of global health (Oxfam)

Access to essential medicines (MSF)

Patents, pills and public health - Can TRIPS deliver? (Panos)

What pharmaceutical companies say

Phrma: `patents are not a barrier´ (Phrma)

Glaxo: `patents stimulate research and development´ (Glaxo)

Doha and its aftermath

Patents, compulsory license and access to medicines: some recent experiences (Third World Network)

WHO's mandate on patents defended by South against US attack (Third World Network)

Patents versus patients: five years after the Doha Declaration (Oxfam)

WTO members should reject bad deal on medicines (Consumer Project on Technology)

Doha WTO Ministerial Conference: declaration on the TRIPS agreement and public health (WTO)

TRIPS consultations on implementing para. 6 on public health recessed (TWN)

South, including LDCs, don't need restrictive TRIPS decisions (TWN)

US bullying on drugs patents: one year after Doha (Oxfam)

Why the TRIPS-and-public-health talks at the WTO broke down (TWN)

Can 'the spirit of Doha' be kept alive?

Protection for the poor, not for patents (TWN)

A new patent system?

Investing for life: meeting poor people's needs for access to medicines through responsible business practices (Oxfam)

Implications of bilateral FTAs for access to medicines (WHO)

High-level commission calls for action to ensure developing country access to existing and new medicines and vaccines (World Health Organization)

Intellectual property, competition and development (Third World Network)

Who owns the knowledge economy?: political organising behind TRIPS (The Corner House)

‘Intellectual property’: Knowledge creation or protectionist agenda? (Third World Network)

World Intellectual Property Organization (Official website)

WIPO moves toward 'world' patent system (Grain)

One global patent system? (Grain)

The gap between rich and poor

Flu outbreak sparks controversy on patents and the poor (Third World Network)

A different perspective

TRIPS and healthcare: rethinking the debate (International Policy Network)

Selected countries and regions

Access to medicines and rights of the child in El Salvador (3D)

Trade-related intellectual property rights, access to medicines and human rights – Morocco (3DThree)

Conclusions of Asian workshop on TRIPS and access to medicines: national responses (Third World Network Service on WTO and Trade Issues)

Access to affordable drugs: victims of HIV/AIDS should not suffer from trade rules (3D: Trade – Human Rights – Equitable Economy)

Australia: End days to cheap drugs with US trade deal (IPS)

US-Peru trade negotiations and the right to health (UNHCHR)

TRIPS, access to medicines and the right to health in Ecuador (3D)


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