Uganda Leads Push for Permanent Waiver on Drug Patents
Uganda is leading the world’s least developed countries (LDCs) in the ongoing showdown talks at the World Trade Organisation headquarters in Geneva, where America remains the only powerful country still refusing to grant a permanent waiver on patents on medicines.
Joining Uganda in demanding that LDCs remain protected from the enforcement of patents and other intellectual property rights on the manufacture of pharmaceuticals are the Asian states of Nepal and Bangladesh.
At issue is the impending closure, at the end of this year, of the 10-year window that WTO granted poor countries in 2006 to continue manufacturing generic drugs using the intellectual property rights of established companies from the West.
Closing this window would give developed world countries an unprecedented flexing of their muscles to control the global pharmaceutical industry by enforcing patents.
The upshot is that poor countries would be denied the ability to manufacture cheaper generic drugs that are a lifeline for most people in LDCs.
Global actors, including the European Commission most recently, have come out in support of the LDCs’ push for a permanent waiver in a bid to improve global health indicators.
- Health Care