|Drug Patents Campaign|
|Written by Administrator|
|Saturday, 13 February 2010|
Drug Patents Campaign
Access to quality treatments is largely hindered by the price of ARV medicines in developing and middle-income countries. Drug patents greatly affect the prices of these medicines, and therefore to advocate for ‘Access to Treatment for All' one cannot avoid tackling drug patent issues. ACCESS has been on the frontline in the fight against the abuse of drug patents, enabling compulsory licensing, and ensuring that public health is put before trade.
The main activities in this area have included: Joining civil society activists, pharmacists, lawyers, researchers from the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO), MSF, and the TNP+ in filing a law suit against Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) on their patent on Didanosine (ddI). This case was fought in the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court (CIPITC) in 2002 and forced BMS to comply with the dosages that they had originally applied for to patent. In 2004 after ongoing discussions, BMS withdrew its patent on ddI, thus ending the case.
It was a milestone to educate the public that consumers, and not just manufacturers (in this case the PLWHA network and NGOs advocating for PLWHAs) are the stakeholders in drug patents. These stakeholders initiated and advocated for the Government to increase support for the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) to produce ARV, for which the patent had already expired, in dosages appropriate for both adults and children. The exploration and review of World Trade Agreements, and rules of conduct relating to life-saving products (including medicines), highlighted the obligation of the trade sector to treat such products adversely to consumer goods and products. The campaign sought legal loopholes that allowed the use of patented drugs to be reproduced in cases of emergency or “life saving” situations, and therefore ensured that a monopoly on these medicines could not exist and nor could overpriced drugs and limited access to treatment.
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|Last Updated ( Monday, 01 March 2010 )|
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