Dutch Prime Minister Joins Call for Cheaper AIDS Drugs
Speaking yesterday to South Africa's Parliament, Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok "urged" that more be done to improve developing countries' access to cheaper AIDS drugs, the Associated Press reports. Kok said that the Netherlands was "pushing for the European Union to interpret intellectual property rights 'in a way compatible with the needs of the poor.'" He added, "The global problem is too threatening to leave (the provision of AIDS drugs) to market forces alone." More than 40 pharmaceutical companies have filed a lawsuit attempting to stop South Africa from manufacturing or importing generic AIDS drugs, and the case will be heard in a South African court next week. The Netherlands, South Africa's 10th largest trading partner, will "maintain a full development cooperation relationship" with South Africa, giving "special attention" to projects designed to combat HIV and AIDS, Kok said (Cohen, Associated Press, 2/27).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.