|Author (Person)||Frost, Laurence|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.40, 1.11.01, p1|
THE EUROPEAN Commission has dropped demands that poor countries be allowed to import generic copies of life-saving drugs, ahead of next week's World Trade Organisation meeting in Doha, Qatar.
EU trade negotiators tabled proposals earlier this month that would allow countries with no manufacturing capabilities to import patent-busting generics to cope with emergencies such as disease epidemics.
But the measure does not feature in the draft text approved by the EU and other WTO members as the starting point for a declaration on intellectual property and access to medicines at Doha. David Earnshaw of Oxfam said the UK and Germany had lobbied for withdrawal of the key passage over the past fortnight. Cheaper drug imports were the only hope for the "vast majority of countries in the world", he said, which did not have their own manufacturing base. "Unless this is addressed at Doha, the declaration is meaningless."
The draft text acknowledges that some countries could face "difficulties in making effective use of compulsory licensing" under the WTO agreement on trade-related intellectual property rights (TRIPs). The draft instructs the TRIPs council to "find an expeditious solution to this problem" by the end of 2002. An earlier Commission document seen by European Voice had called for countries to be allowed to manufacture generics for export to any poor country facing a "situation of national emergency". MEP Glenys Kinnock, who has campaigned for increased access to medicines, said: "This represents another victory for profits over public health. It's disappointing that the EU has weakened its commitment to promoting the welfare of people when poverty denies them their right to treatment."
The European Commission has dropped demands that poor countries be allowed to import generic copies of life-saving drugs, ahead of the forthcoming World Trade Organisation meeting in Doha, Qatar.
|Subject Categories||Business and Industry, Internal Markets, Politics and International Relations, Trade|