south-north development monitor SUNS [Email Edition]

SUNS #4439, Friday, 21 May 1999


Trade: British Doctors caution on GM products (Chakravarthi Raghavan, Geneva)

Health: TRIPS and the WHO's revised drug strategy (Someshwar Singh, Geneva)

Health: World Bank for focus on tobacco use, not supply (IPS, Geneva)

Development: Egypt, Tanzania sign food security accord (IPS, Dar Es Salam)

Brazil: Economic and Social issues become Human Rights (IPS, Brasilia)

United Sates: Corporate accountability... (IPS, Washington)

Labour: Women trade unionists put globalisation in the dock (IPS, Rio de Janeiro)


Some excerpts from selected articles:

Trade: British Doctors caution on GM products

Geneva, 20 May (Chakravarthi Raghavan) -- The British Medical Association (BMA) have called for the publication of the precautionary principle and for continuance of the moratorium on commercial planting of Genetically Modified crops or consumption of products until further research on risk factors.

They have also called for a ban on the use of anti-biotic marker genes (used in the biotech industry to 'engineer' and implant, by a random process, genes from one species into cells of another) in GM food

The BMA, with a membership of over 119,000 doctors, and acting through its Board of Science and Education has since 1990, been taking a sustained interest in the environmental impact of agricultural practices, and has produced an interim statement now on a raging controversy on GM products (with normal varieties mixed with GM ones) put on sale in markets, and the consumer resistance and campaign.

The full report of the BMA's interim statement and recommendations are in a report available on sale at the BMA bookshops in the UK, while the introduction and recommendations are on BMA web pages: <>

Health: TRIPS and the WHO's revised drug strategy

Geneva, May 19 (Someshwar Singh) -- The fifty-second World Health Assembly, currently in session, is to consider a draft resolution that will establish the primacy of the World Health Organization (WHO) in monitoring the pharmaceutical and public health implications of the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

The draft resolution on the 'revised drug strategy' has been a contentious issue - particularly because of international trade agreements such as TRIPS place obligations (in big-industry interests) on countries, particularly those in the developing world, which may actually conflict with WHO's revised drug strategy, which also places obligations (in public interest) on the member states.

While seeking to provide a clear role for the WHO to monitor the consequences of international trade agreements for public health, the new draft resolution also gives the WHO a mandate to assist countries in their efforts to safeguard public health while implementing these agreements.

The draft resolution clearly urges member states of the WHO 'to ensure that public health interests are paramount in pharmaceutical and health policies.'

The WHO revised drug strategy was designed to ensure equitable access to quality, essential drugs and to promote their rational use.

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