Drugs for HIV/AIDS, Other Diseases Should Be Made More Affordable, Accessible, Advocates Say at Intellectual Property Rights Conference
Drugs for HIV/AIDS and other disease should be affordable and accessible to all people who need them, advocates from 15 countries who met recently in New Delhi to examine issues surrounding intellectual property rights said, the Hindustan Times reports. Representatives from civil society groups in Brazil, China, Kenya, Malaysia, South Africa, Thailand and other countries shared their experiences in ensuring that patents do not hinder public health efforts, according to the Times. "The obstacles posed by global patent protection under" the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of International Property Rights present a "grave threat to public health and needs a global response," Anand Grover, project director of the HIV/AIDS unit at the India-based Lawyers Collective, said. He added, "Countries can learn from each other and help make medicines cheaper and easily available in the developing world."
According to Thai advocate Kannikar Kijtiwatchakul, the country's decision to issue compulsory licenses for antiretroviral and other drugs has "given new hope to thousands of Thai citizens who could not otherwise have access to these drugs." Some advocates also said that because India is the largest supplier of generic drugs to developing nations, the country should spearhead efforts worldwide to make drugs more affordable at a May meeting of the Intergovernmental Working Group on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (Sharma, Hindustan Times, 4/22).