European Union Adopts WTO Deal for Poor Nations to Access Generic Medicines
November 20, 2007
On Monday, the European Union ratified a World Trade Organization agreement to improve poor nations' access to vital, cheaper generic drugs, including those for HIV and TB.
In 2005, WTO modified an agreement on intellectual property rights that took into account the need for poor nations to import, under certain conditions, generic versions of patented medicines. That agreement, however, will not come into effect until two-thirds of the 151 WTO member states ratify it. Before the EU meeting, only a dozen countries -- including the United States, Japan, and India -- had ratified the agreement.
"Health is an essential component of the UN's Millennium Development Goals and therefore one of the main priorities of the EU development policy," EU foreign ministers said in a statement. "The EU is firmly committed to ensure that in particular least-developed countries have access to essential medicines at the lowest possible prices, in particular in their fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria."
Agence France Presse
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.