Monday, 16 June 2008

Breakthrough by WHO will give poor countries better access to drugs

An agreement has been reached by world health leaders regarding approaches to drug research and development and improving access to medicines, according to a report by Delegates at an annual meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) (which Afro-IP believes is the Sixty-first World Health Assembly but would welcome confirmation) have endorsed policies governing public health, innovation and intellectual property strategies.

Not suprisingly, "The intellectual property issue has been a controversial one for the WHO, with members divided over how and whether to revamp the prevailing patent system, which many believe makes drugs unaffordable to poor nations."

At the meeting the main decision-making body of the WHO, the World Health Assembly (WHA), the 2,700 delegates from 190 countries endorsed a six-year-action plan to deal with non-communicable diseases.

Public health activists have appaarently welcomed and applauded the bitterly fought consensus and say the WHO has engineered a major step forward in tackling intellectual property, which spans patents, copyright and trademarks.

They have called on the WHO to push for new incentives for drug makers to create new diagnostic tests for tuberculosis, according to the report.

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