[Ip-health] UN says that US-Colombia FTA may hurt access to medicines

Judit Rius Sanjuan judit.rius at keionline.org
Tue May 25 16:39:12 PDT 2010

This week, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), a body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by states parties, noted that the IP obligations included in the US-Colombia FTA may hurt access to medicines and recommends a revision of the IP provisions.

The UN report includes the following statements: 

"The Committee is concerned that bilateral and multilateral trade agreements signed by the State party may affect the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, in particular of disadvantaged and marginalized groups, such as indigenous and afro-colombian peoples and persons living in rural areas. The Committee is also concerned that the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed between the State party and the United States contains provisions on intellectual property that may result in increase of prices of medicines and negatively impact on the enjoyment of the right to health, in particular of those with low income (arts. 1, 12).

The Committee recommends that the State party take effective measures to ensure that economic, social and cultural rights are taken into account in all free trade agreements and bilateral and multilateral trade agreements, and develop effective policies to protect the rights of the population,  in particular of the marginalized and disadvantaged groups, against the negative impact of such agreements. In this regard, the Committee recommends that the State party consider revising the intellectual property provisions of the Free Trade Agreement signed with the United States, in order to ensure protection against the increase of the price of medicines, in particular for those with low income." 

A UN press release (in Spanish) is available here: http://www.un.org/spanish/News/fullstorynews.asp?newsID=18412&criteria1=Colombia&criteria2=comercio

The UN report (in English) is available here: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cescr/cescrs44.htm

Judit Rius Sanjuan
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
NYC Phone: 212 222 5180
Washington DC Phone: 202 332 2670

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