[Ip-health] MSF Statement: Countries Pressured to Drop Language on Protecting Access to Affordable Meds from TB Summit Declaration Negotiations

leena menghaney leenamenghaney at gmail.com
Fri Jul 20 08:14:18 PDT 2018


*At Last Minute, Countries Pressured to Drop Language on Protecting Access
to Affordable Meds from TB Summit Declaration NegotiationsUS government
exerting extreme pressure, threatening not to endorse declaration *

New York, 20 July 2018—Countries negotiating the final declaration text for
the first-ever UN High-level Meeting on Tuberculosis in September are being
put under significant pressure to drop all references to protecting
countries’ rights to take fully-legal actions to access affordable
medicines for their people, Médecins Sans Frontières reported learning
today.

As the nearly two-month negotiations wind down in New York this weekend,
one of the final sticking points remains language on public health
safeguards enshrined in the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on
Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). This allows
governments, among other things, to issue ‘compulsory licenses’ to override
patents in the interest of public health, so that they can allow generic
versions to be produced or imported and more people can receive needed
treatment.

Medicines affordability and use of TRIPS flexibilities has been agreed upon
in multiple international fora, including the UN High-level Declaration on
anti-microbial resistance (AMR).

“How is it possible that global leaders will gather for the first time to
decide how to tackle the world’s most deadly infectious disease killer, and
yet some countries backed by their big pharma lobbies are pushing to remove
any mention of the need for vital medicines to be affordable?” said
Sharonann Lynch, HIV and TB Advisor for MSF’s Access Campaign.
“Drug-resistant-TB is a public health emergency, so clearly the world is
going to need to kick the response to this disease into high gear if we
want to stop senseless deaths. Blocking more affordable generic versions of
safer oral medicines needed to scale up treatments for people with DR-TB
will not be the way to do it.”

Talks on the TB declaration were supposed to have wrapped up but they
continued on Friday without resolution. The U.S. is exerting extreme
pressure on other negotiators by refusing to sign the declaration at the
U.N. General Assembly in September if language such as paragraph (PP19)
that “recognizes the importance of affordable medicines” and “urges
countries to enforce intellectual property rules in ways that promote
access" is included.

The ‘Group of 77’ bloc of developing countries is under pressure to drop
all references to the WTO’s 2001 Doha Declaration that enshrined public
health flexibilities and safeguards in the TRIPS agreement.

The negotiators expected to be finished with the text by Monday, after
which the declaration text will not be re-opened, according to plans.

“We’re appealing to all countries, including those in the Group of 77, and
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, that have a high burden of
TB, to urgently stand up right now against bullying that aims to keep
medicines out of the hands of your people who need treatment,” said Leena
Menghaney, South Asia Head for MSF’s Access Campaign. “This upcoming TB
Summit is such an important opportunity to reaffirm countries’ rights to
make medicines affordable for their people – don’t waste this moment.”
 -

Leena Menghaney
Mobile: 9811365412


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