[Ip-health] AFP: WHO urged to examine its links to big drug firms

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Fri May 21 18:22:24 PDT 2010


WHO urged to examine its links to big drug firms
(AFP) – 1 day ago

GENEVA — The World Health Organization was urged Friday to examine its  
links to big drug firms after criticism led by Brazil and India over  
the fight against counterfeit drugs.

The two countries claim that major drug makers are unfairly labelling  
generic medicines as counterfeits, and using laws against patent  
infringements to suppress competitors who are making lawful generic  

Member states of the WHO approved a resolution after four days of  
heated debate which calls on the world body to reassess its ties to  
the pharmaceutical firms.

"I am happy to inform you of the fact that... we have managed to reach  
an agreement," said Iran, which chaired marathon negotiations between  
member states.

The resolution called on the WHO to create a working group to work on  
combating counterfeit medicines.

It also called on the agency to examine its links with a partnership  
created in 2006 called IMPACT -- International Medical Products Anti- 
Counterfeiting Taskforce.

Among members of IMPACT is the International Federation of  
Pharmaceutical and Manufacturers' Association which represents drug  
makers, a point of contention for countries such as Brazil and India.

"That's what counts -- a check by member states on the policies of the  
WHO," said Brazil, which was among countries which questioned the role  

For Thiru Balasubramaniam, a health expert at the NGO Knowledge  
Ecology International, the intense debate this week was a "signal that  
many developing countries have lost confidence in IMPACT and WHO" on  
the issue of counterfeits.


Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
thiru at keionline.org

Tel: +41 22 791 6727
Mobile: +41 76 508 0997

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