MSF Reaction to G8 Action Plan on Trade

Evian, 2 June 2003 - Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) denounces G8 countries' continued insistence on limiting the ability of developing countries to access affordable medicines. The G8 communique 'Co-operative G8 Action on Trade' released today is a catastrophic backslide from the WTO Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, and may lead to adoption of the disastrous 'Motta' text of 16 December 2002.

"Despite repeated claims at the summit that G8 countries are concerned by the health needs in the developing world, they still insist on a solution that simply won't work," said Ellen 't Hoen of Medecins Sans Frontieres. "This approach is an attempt to protect Western drug company interests, rather than a genuine effort to improve access to medicines needed to save millions of lives in developing countries. It is a clear signal that the G8 is reneging on the Doha promise."

The Doha Declaration states unambiguously that the TRIPS Agreement "can and should be interpreted in a manner supportive of WTO Members' right to protect public health and in particular, to promote access to medicines for all."

The approach endorsed by the G8 today will effectively block countries from ensuring that affordable generic medicines can be produced and exported efficiently.

For more information and for comment from MSF in Evian, please contact:

Ellen 't Hoen: +33 6 223 758 71; Rachel Cohen: + 1 917 331 9077

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