U.S. again delays WTO antiretroviral access agreement
BY Advocate.com Editors
February 12 2003 1:00 AM ET
The United States used another delaying tactic Monday at a World Trade Organization meeting regarding its decision to allow developing countries that do not have the ability to produce medicines the right to import generic versions of the drugs, The [London] Guardian reports. Formal discussions on the issue were postponed when the U.S. delegation requested more time to seek additional consultation. The issue is scheduled to be discussed again next week at the WTO council meeting on intellectual property, but it is not clear whether the United States will seek additional postponements.
The talks have been stalled for several months because the United States insists that any such deal should apply only to drugs used to treat certain infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS so that best-selling medications like Viagra and antidepressants, among others, will not be copied. The original agreement did not specify which drugs or diseases were to be included in the plan, and developing countries have rejected U.S.-led efforts to modify the plan to cover only certain ailments.