Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
WTO Head Hopes To Draft Plan This Year To Allow Developing Nations To Manufacture Less-Expensive HIV/AIDS Medicines
World Trade Organization Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi said on Friday that the WTO hopes to develop by the end of this year a plan to outline how developing nations can use the flexibility of international patent rules to manufacture less-expensive versions of medicines to fight HIV/AIDS and other diseases, Market News International reports (Scott, Market News International, 9/27). In November 2001, a WTO ministerial working group approved and issued a declaration stating that developing nations can override patent protections to manufacture medicines in public health emergencies. The declaration says that the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, which outlines international patent rules, "can and should be interpreted and implemented in a manner supportive of WTO members' right to protect public health and, in particular, to promote access to medicines for all." The text also states that each WTO member has the right to issue compulsory licenses and the liberty to determine when to issue the licenses (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/15/01). Supachai met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick on Friday to discuss how developing nations could use waivers to issue compulsory licenses and differential pricing for patented treatments (Walsh, Dow Jones International News, 9/27). "It is important for the United States to take a clear and concrete leadership role" in the process, Supachai said (Market News International, 9/27).
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