Pharmaceuticals, Patents & Profits: South deprived of life-saving drugs

  • TRIPS and pharmaceuticals: A case of corporate profits over public health (Cecilia Oh/TWN)
    With the obligations it imposes on member countries of the trade body to recognise and strengthen patent protection on pharmaceuticals, the World Trade Organisation's Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is denying patients in the developing world access to life-saving essential medicines. The countries of the South now find themselves ranged against Northern governments and powerful pharmaceutical lobbies in their fight, at the WTO and beyond, to ensure public health takes precedence over corporate profits.

  • Geneva 2000: The battle of patents vs affordable medicines (Cecilia Oh/TWN)
    One key issue at the 26 June-1 July Special Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGASS) on Social Development was the right of people to essential medicines at affordable prices, and how this right is being undermined by patents and the intellectual property rights regime established by the WTO’s TRIPS Agreement. Cecilia Oh reports on the debate on this issue at UNGASS and at an NGO event organised in the week of the Special Session.

  • Globalisation and equitable access to essential drugs (Ellen 't Hoen)
    While there are a number of factors, such as high cost, insufficient production, and lack of research and development, which have ontributed to denying equitable access to drugs to millions in the Third World, it is the international trade regulations arising from globalisation that may prove to be the biggest obstacle to such access. Ellen 't Hoen considers these impediments to access and suggests some new global approaches to overcome them.

  • Open letter to the WTO member countries on TRIPS and access to health care technology
    On the eve of last year's WTO Ministerial Conference in Seattle, Medicins Sans Frontieres, Health Action International and Consumer Project on Tchnology issued the following open letter to members of the multilateral trade body urging the latter to consider initiating moves, both within and beyond the framework of the TRIPS Agreement, to promote equitable access to health care.

  • Patent rights vs patient rights
    Academics, social activists, public health advocates, government officials and politicians from Africa, Asia, South and North America, Australia and Europe met in Oslo on 22-24 May 2000 at a workshop entitled 'Patent Rights vs. Patient Rights' to discuss access to essential drugs, including treatment for AIDS. They issued the following call for access to basic technologies and essential drugs.

  • Africa shuns US move allowing access to cheaper AIDS drugs (Gumisai Mutume)
    Developing countries are not exactly queuing up at the US Trade Department to take advantage of flexible patent regulations allowing them to access cheaper AIDS drugs. The reason may be due to mixed signals coming out of Washington, says Gumisai Mutume.

  • Killing Africa with kindness (R.Mokhiber & R. Weissman)
    Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman uncover the perils and pitfalls behind a US government move to provide loans to African countries for the purchase of AIDS drugs.

  • How WTO/TRIPS threatens the Indian pharmaceutical industry (R.Gerster)
    The Indian pharmaceutical industry is a success story providing employment for millions and ensuring that essential drugs at affordable prices are available to the vast population of this sub-continent. However, the new 'trade' rules of the World Trade Organisation now pose a serious threat to the industry and to the millions who are dependent on it for their health and livelihood.

  • Keep taking our tablets (no one else's) (Gregory Palast)
    The WTO's response to Africa's AIDS crisis is a chilling reminder of where power lies in the global economy.