WTO Drug Agreement Stalled

Manila Bulletin, January 20, 2003 | Go to article overview

WTO Drug Agreement Stalled


Byline: BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT

A WTO (World Trade Organization) agreement on the issue of compulsory licensing of essential drugs for developing countries facing serious public health crisis is far from reality following objections to the European Unions proposal to involve the World Health Organization (WHO) into the fray and for requiring importing countries to take safeguard measures to prevent trade diversion.

Trade and Industry Secretary Manuel A. Roxas II, who pushed for the implementation of compulsory licensing for pharmaceutical products provisions under the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) agreement, disagreed with the EU proposal.

The Philippines finds that the EUs proposal on the issue of scope of diseases detracts from the flexibility granted by the TRIPs Declaration allowing countries to determine on their own what constitute public health problems, without need of confirmation or advise by any other country of international organization, Roxas stressed.

WTO negotiations which should been concluded last December 16 was stalled when three contentious issues surfaced: the scope of the diseases to which the solution may be applicable; the modality to access domestic manufacturing capacity; and, the safeguard measures against trade diversion. …

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