Negotiations On UN Tuberculosis Declaration Still Open, Reports Say27/07/2018 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch 1 CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (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)IP-Watch is a non-profit independent news service and depends on subscriptions. To access all of our content, please subscribe here. You may also offer additional support with your subscription, or donate.Negotiations for a United Nations declaration on ending tuberculosis had drawn to a close earlier this week, with the United States seeming to succeed on a hardline position to keep mention of intellectual property rights and affordability of medicines out of the text. But nongovernmental reports say the draft has not been accepted by all members and that negotiations will have to be reopened. United Nations headquarters in New YorkAccording to the health advocacy group Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors Without Borders) and other sources, South Africa, possibly supported by other developing countries, has held out on the draft.A call to the South African Mission to the UN in New York was not returned by press time.At issue is the Political Declaration on TB to be adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at the High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis, on 26 September at the UN in New York. An IP-Watch story on the draft declaration is available here (IPW, Health & IP, 24 July 2018).The full MSF alert is reprinted below:Update on contentious negotiations for the UN High-level Meeting on TuberculosisSouth Africa breaks the ‘silence’ period and negotiations are re-openedBackground:For almost two months, countries have been engaged in protracted and heated negotiations in New York on the draft declaration of the United Nations’High-level Meeting on TB, which will take place in September in New York.The near-final draft was submitted on 20 July to the President of the UN General Assembly and was under the ‘silence procedure’ until 24 July.Towards the end of negotiations on a resolution or declaration, the draft is declared to be ‘in silence procedure’ for a specified time. If no government puts forward an objection by the given deadline, the draft text is considered ‘agreed.’ When a country breaks the silence, the negotiations reopen.On 24 July, South Africa raised their concern on the draft declaration, breaking the ‘silence.’The current text of the draft declaration not only fails to incorporate public health safeguards that countries can exercise under the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property(TRIPS) to make the treatment affordable, but also includes problematic language that says ‘intellectual property rights are an important incentive in the development of new health products’ – which is not true for TB.The 20 July draft is available here: Link https://www.un.org/pga/72/wp-content/uploads/sites/51/2018/07/TB.pdfQuote from Els Torreele, Executive Director of Médecins Sans Frontières’(MSF) Access Campaign“MSF applauds South Africa’s courageous decision to speak up and demand stronger commitments to ensure that existing and future TB diagnostics, treatments and vaccines reach the hands of the people who need them, leading to the reopening of negotiations on the draft declaration of the UN High-level Meeting on TB.For almost two months, negotiators have been in heated talks that resulted in a draft declaration that widely diverged from language in previous UN declarations on health and access to medicines, which had recognized the need to promote public-interest-driven research and development (R&D) and ensure that resulting health products are affordable and available for people. This aggressive push by several countries backed by big pharma lobbies would severely undercut needed guarantees to protect access to vital tools and medicines for people living with TB.We ask countries negotiating the text to urgently provide political support for the inclusion of language on affordability and ‘de-linkage’ in the draft, to reflect that investments in TB R&D must be separated from the expectation of financial returns through sales or high prices. Countries must also push to retain the full rights to use internationally agreed public health safeguards enshrined in Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement for access to affordable, generic versions of all TB medicines, especially the newer all-oral treatments needed to scale up treatment of the disease.It is critical that leaders remember this declaration won’t just live on paper; it will have real-world consequences for millions of people who need affordable lifesaving TB medicines.” Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (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)RelatedWilliam New may be reached at email@example.com."Negotiations On UN Tuberculosis Declaration Still Open, Reports Say" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.