World Trade Organization Negotiations on Drug Access Stall
December 2, 2002
Negotiators in the current World Trade Organization talks failed Friday to resolve differences between the United States and developing countries over access to essential medicines, but hope to renew efforts in early December, trade officials said. The United States, wanting to protect its pharmaceutical industry patents, said it remained committed to supporting poor countries' access to drugs to fight AIDS and other epidemics, but it opposed extending an accord to other health issues such as diabetes and cancer. The African group, supported by developing countries, expressed disappointment at what they described as proposals that would narrow the accord reached at a meeting of trade ministers in Doha, Qatar, last year; this recognized the right of WTO members to override patents on expensive Western drugs and make the products themselves when public health is at stake.
11.29.02; Alexander G. Higgins
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