WTO Meeting to Discuss TRIPS Revisions
The World Trade Organization today holds a special one-day board meeting in Geneva to "discuss how to enable the poorest countries, particularly in Africa, to cheaply procure AIDS drugs," the Kyodo News reports. The meeting will discuss the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) regulations, which protect drug patents (Kyodo News, 6/20). Though a clause in the regulations permits WTO members to suspend patent rules in times of national emergency, that clause is "open to interpretation," and many nations have been "pushing for more flexibility," saying the rules are "stacked in favor of wealthy nations and their drug lobbies" (Fowler, AP/Akron Beacon Journal, 6/20). At the meeting, the WTO will "discuss how to define exceptional cases under the agreement" and how to let developing countries produce generic versions of patented drugs, according to "trade sources." The Kyodo News adds that the meeting's outcome may impact discussions at next week's U.N. General Assembly Special Session on AIDS, as well as an upcoming Group of Eight summit meeting in Genoa, Italy (Kyodo News, 6/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.