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Wednesday, 11 July 2007

European Parliament debates TRIPs and public health

Today (after 3pm) the European Parliament is debating the TRIPs Agreement and its impact on access to medicines. It seems that the EP is putting together a series of questions to the European Council and Commission.

Last week’s Financial Times reported that a group of MEPs, led by Italian Liberal Gianluca Susta, think that

“The only long-term solution is to give these countries . . . the ability to provide for the health needs of their population. That means helping them build up their own production and research facilities.”

The MEPs want to see funding from the EU to set up these facilities, but the Commission does not agree. If the funding is not forthcoming, the MEPs have threatened to block the conversion of the 2003 temporary compulsory licensing waiver under the TRIPs Agreement into a permanent measure.

The IPKat can see how the MEPs’ measures would benefit less developed countries. However, he can equally well see why Europe-based pharmaceutical companies will be less than chuffed by an institution that is backed by the governments of the countries in which they are based subsidising their competitors.

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