Wall Street Journal Examines Stalled WTO Negotiations on Access To Generic Medications, Including HIV/AIDS Drugs
The Wall Street Journal today examines the World Trade Organization's negotiations on expanding access to generic drugs, including those used to treat HIV/AIDS, in developing countries and the "clamor for action" that has grown in recent days with the G8 summit in Evian, France (Thurow/Miller, Wall Street Journal, 6/2). WTO talks in Geneva over generic drug access have been stalled since members missed a Dec. 31, 2002, deadline to reach an agreement. U.S. negotiators in February refused to sign a deal under the Doha declaration to allow developing nations to override patent protections to produce or import generic versions of drugs to combat public health epidemics unless wording was included to specify which diseases constitute a public health epidemic (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/29). The Bush administration endorsed a list of 20 infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. However, doctors and health advocates have said that many drugs used to treat public health concerns such as heart-related problems, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases are not included on the U.S.-backed list despite being common problems in developing countries. According to the Journal, the WTO talks have "deteriorated into a major letdown for those it was supposed to help" (Wall Street Journal, 6/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.