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Talks could reverse HIV/AIDS drug deal

A proposal being negotiated by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Japan, could severely restrict access to HIV/AIDS drugs, a group of local NGOs warned on Friday.

ActionAid Kenya, EcoNews and Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) agreed that if adopted, the proposal could reverse public health policy gains made under the Doha Declaration on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) in 2001.

"The cost of some life-saving drugs have been decreased by as much as half, but if this current proposal goes through at the WTO, all these gains will be lost," ActionAid's Dr. Christopher Ouma told the UN news service IRIN.

Under the Doha Declaration, countries were authorised to issue compulsory licences to companies to manufacture affordable generic drugs needed for tackling public health problems such as HIV/AIDS.

However, at the current discussions, certain members of the WTO are trying to restrict the terms of the agreement and limit the use of compulsory licensing to "national emergencies or other circumstances of extreme urgency", Ouma said.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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