WTO talks collapse, but poor countries still have to contend with a flawed deal on generic medicines access

Health GAP Act Up-Paris
September 15 2003

(Cancun) Developing countries were pressured to rush into a deal on access to medicines for countries with insufficient domestic manufacturing capacity, thinking that Ministerial talks would go further with TRIPS and access to drugs off the table.

Instead, the Cancun Ministerial talks collapsed today, thanks to US and EU intransigence on developing countries' issues. But WTO Members are still left with a complex and burdensome compromise agreement, bound in red tape.

The WTO's next step is negotiating a permanent amendment to TRIPS about this issue, the 'paragraph 6' problem.

Developing countries must fight for a permanent amendment that is workable, and makes it as easy for countries that are unable to do efficient local production to get generic versions of patented medicines as it is for the few rich countries who have sufficient local manufacturing capacity.

The flawed text of the August 30 agreement does not provide this minimum assurance, and instead undermines the core principle of the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and public health, that countries should implement WTO intellectual property rules in a manner that supports public health and access to medicines for all.


Contact for more information: Asia Russell, Health GAP +1 267 475 2645, or
Gaelle Krikorian, Act Up Paris +52 998 120 9229

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