European Parliament Discusses Resolution to Increase Access to AIDS Drugs
The European Parliament yesterday declared that it would move toward a system that grants developing nations greater access to cheaper AIDS drugs, Agence France-Presse reports. The resolution would "punch loopholes" in national patent laws, creating a "system allowing developing countries equitable access to medicines and vaccines at affordable prices," Agence France-Presse reports. The Parliament noted that the TRIPS agreement "permits a country to enact national laws permitting the use of a patented product without authorization of the patent-holder under certain specified circumstances," such as declaration of a national emergency. The Parliament also urged the 39 drug companies that are challenging a South African law that would allow the country to import or manufacture cheaper AIDS medicines to withdraw their lawsuit. Expressing its "solidarity and support" for the South African government in the trial, the Parliament stated that AIDS drugs should not be priced "out of reach" of HIV-positive people in developing nations. The Parliament resolution stated that the European Union has asked the United States to collaborate on an initiative to provide developing nations with greater access to antiretroviral medicines. This issue will be discussed at a June European Union/United States summit in Sweden (Agence France-Presse, 3/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.