NGOs: Countries Pressured To Drop Reference To Affordable Medicines In UN TB Negotiations 20/07/2018 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch 2 Comments Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)United Nations members in the final days of negotiating the text of the declaration for a late September high-level meeting on tuberculosis have come under pressure from the United States to omit language referring to the importance of making affordable medicines available to patients in need, according to an urgent bulletin today from a health advocacy group. The High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis will take place at the United Nations headquarters in New York on 26 September. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors Without Borders) issued a release today, arguing that developing countries would be specifically affected by removal of the language. “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. At issue are flexibilities to intellectual property rules embedded in the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Intellectual Property Watch did not reach the US delegation by press time. The full MSF press release is reprinted below: Friday, July 20, 2018 — At Last Minute, Countries Pressured to Drop Language on Protecting Access to Affordable Meds from TB Summit Declaration Negotiations US 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.” Image Credits: United Nations Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related William New may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."NGOs: Countries Pressured To Drop Reference To Affordable Medicines In UN TB Negotiations" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.