Targets, TRIPS Flexibilities In UN HIV Meeting Declaration; Brazil’s Health Minister Hails Outcome10/06/2011 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a 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 now. You may also offer additional support with your subscription, or donate.NEW YORK – The declaration from the United Nations High-Level Meeting on AIDS, which concluded today, set targets for responding to the disease and contained clear references to flexibilities to intellectual property law intended to assure needed medicines can be obtained affordably, according to Brazil’s health minister. Perhaps the biggest commitment of the 8-10 June meeting in New York was to have 15 million people on HIV treatment by 2015. This was hailed by many, such as Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors without Borders), which issued this statement. A number of groups cited the meeting’s commitment to latest innovation to develop the necessary cutting-edge treatments.A version believed to be the final meeting declaration was made available here (IPW, Public Health, 8 June 2011).Alexander Padilha, the health minister of Brazil, also hailed this as important. He told Intellectual Property Watch that it is significant that the declaration contains reference to flexibilities contained in the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). That 1994 agreement elevated global rules for IP rights protection but allowed nations to apply the rules flexibly in certain cases such as in the interest of public health.Padilha also said in an interview today that the declaration recognises the critical import of affordable medicines including a generics policy, and that intellectual property policies and enforcement efforts should be compliant with TRIPS flexibilities. This is the first time a UN declaration has pointed to something of that nature, he said.Padilha emphasised the importance of the declaration saying that TRIPS flexibilities should be optimised to the fullest to promote access. Brazil is reinforcing its generics policy and focus on universal access, he said.He also said that for the first time, a UN conference declaration established a target of 15 million people receiving optimal treatment by 2015.According to the UN, the targets from the meeting include “halving sexual transmission of HIV by 2015; reducing transmission of HIV among people who inject drugs by 50 percent by 2015; to ensure that by 2015 no children will be born with HIV; to increase universal access to antiretroviral therapy; to get 15 million people onto life-saving treatment by 2015; and to reduce tuberculosis deaths in people living with HIV by 50 percent by 2015.”Another significant point, according to Padilha, was that in the establishment of targets for reducing and eliminating transmission, it was the first time a UN declaration highlighted the specific populations at risk, putting aside any stigma associate with infection and reinforcing the human rights aspect of the initiative.Brazil, Padilha said, is reinforcing its generic policy this year, including a substantial increase in production early this year compared with the same period a year earlier, several partnerships with domestic and international industry, technical cooperation and R&D centres. Of the 20 antiretrovirals Brazil offers in its public health programme, 10 are produced in Brazil. Vaccines can be produced in Brazil as well, he said.As to protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, Padilha said Brazil is not changing its approach. It considers IP rights “important”, he said, and has a position of respect for such rights. But, he added, “we consider first the public health priority, the universal access priority.”So, he said, when negotiating with the pharmaceutical industry, in order to lower prices Brazil will consider TRIPS flexibilities. This has been an effective policy for the country for years.Click here to see a photo of Padilha meeting with UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé last month.Innovation!Also during the meeting, an event was held on the need for rapid innovation in drugs and treatments for HIV infection. A press release on the innovation event is available here.According to the release, World Health Organization Director General Margaret Chan said, “Innovation is important, but when innovation is not affordable and cannot reach the poor, we miss the point.” She said the international community is not keeping pace with the devastating epidemic, the UN release said, noting that for each person who began antiretroviral treatment, another two become infected.The intervention by Knowledge Ecology International is available here.It was said at the event that the approach over the first 30 years of the disease’s existence have been very successful, but that now it is time to shift investment strategies to produce lower cost treatments and improve delivery systems, in order to eradicate it altogether. This includes partnerships among the public sector, non-profit organisations and generic drug manufacturers.During the meeting, alternative approaches such as the Medicines Patent Pool in Geneva were also highlighted and praised. Click here for the Medicines Patent Pool press release.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."Targets, TRIPS Flexibilities In UN HIV Meeting Declaration; Brazil’s Health Minister Hails Outcome" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.