Developing Countries Should Use Trade Rules To Circumvent Patent Laws on AIDS Drugs, WHO Official Says
Developing countries most affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic should use domestic and international trade regulations to circumvent patent laws on antiretroviral drugs, Bernard Fabre-Teste, World Health Organization regional adviser on sexually transmitted diseases, said on Friday, the AP/Long Island Newsday reports. A lack of reduced-price antiretrovirals is a problem in many developing countries, Fabre-Teste said during a meeting of the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific in Noumea, New Caledonia. He said that countries such as India, China and Vietnam should circumvent patent laws to produce generic drugs, adding that other countries should take steps to import generic versions of antiretrovirals. A 2003 World Trade Organization provision allows countries facing public health emergencies to issue compulsory licenses to manufacture and import generic versions of patented drugs; however, no country to date has used the provision because many governments fear trade sanctions from countries where the patents are held, according to Fabre-Teste. Officials should work together to ensure that public health needs are not disregarded for economic or trade interests, he said (Foley, AP/Long Island Newsday, 9/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.