[Ip-health] Two more choice quotes from Foreign Affairs piece on UN High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases

thiru at keionline.org thiru at keionline.org
Tue Sep 20 02:24:45 PDT 2011



While the NCD Alliance differed with U.S. officials on the issue of
time-bound commitments, it shared the U.S. position on protecting patents.
The NCD Alliance is supported by close to a dozen major pharmaceutical and
medical device companies, and Keeling says that many important drugs used
to treat non-communicable diseases are already off patent and available in
generic form, including insulin, blood pressure medications, and morphine
to palliate cancer pain. "We still think it's possible to save tens of
millions of lives using the drugs we already have," Keeling says.

The common view in the developing world was different. "Particularly with
cancer, a lot of the medications are just not accessible or affordable,"
says Guyana's Torrington, who negotiated on behalf of a block of 132 low-
and middle-income countries and China. Ultimately, the negotiators reached
a compromise that called NCDs "a challenge of epidemic proportions" and
allowed inclusion of oblique references to flexibilities in the current
international trade agreement on intellectual property. While that is far
from an outraged call to break patents, it serves as a reminder that
existing trade law allows for public health exceptions and compulsory
licenses to produce generic medications.

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