With end of TRIPS, aid groups see access to cheap drugs closing

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Civil society groups are rallying efforts to extend a deal that is seen to give the world’s poorest countries access to cheap drugs.

On March 5-6, the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Council of the World Trade Organization will meet in Geneva to seal the fate of the proposal lengthening the TRIPS transition period for the 49 least-developed countries. The transition period, set to expire July 2013, exempts LDCs from the terms of the TRIPS agreement on patents and test data protection for pharmaceuticals.

The Joint U.N. Program on HIV/AIDS and U.N. Development Program this week backed the proposal by releasing a new brief that urges WTO members to mull the health, economic and development benefits of an extension.

In the brief, UNAIDS and UNDP said the transition period must be extended since LDCs continue to have special needs and requirements for social and economic development. Failure to extend the transition period, they added, could block LDCs’ access to vital lifesaving antiretroviral treatment and other medicines.

Source: Devex (link opens in a new window)

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