International Red Cross Tells WTO Ministers to Think of ‘Humanitarian’ Aspects of Access to AIDS Drugs
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is urging trade representatives across the world to "put humanitarian concerns ahead of commercial ones" with respect to AIDS drugs at the upcoming World Trade Organization meeting in Doha, Qatar, Agence France-Presse reports. The IFRC's HIV/AIDS governance group on access to medicines stated that the "present balance of resource allocation and pricing of drugs is unacceptable and needs to be redesigned." IFRC President Astrid Heiberg called on the federation's members to "impress" upon their trade representatives the need for "affordable access" to AIDS drugs and other medicines. The federation said that the existing TRIPS agreement "allows some flexibility" on patent suspension during public health emergencies, but added that the WTO meeting should clarify how TRIPS can be used to support developing nations' efforts to fight deadly disease. The IFRC said it is already holding talks with the pharmaceutical industry regarding access to drugs (Agence France-Presse, 11/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.