Countries call for WHO to push for cheaper AIDS drugs
Thirty-six countries from Europe, Latin America, and Africa on Wednesday presented a draft resolution at the World Health Organization's meeting in Geneva to push the organization's 192 member countries to fully use rules granting poor nations access to generic anti-HIV medications, Agence France-Presse reports. The resolution calls on all WHO member countries to "use to the full the flexibilities" in the World Trade Organization's laws that allow patents laws on brand-name drugs to be waived in times of health emergencies so that cheaper, generic versions of the medications can be made. The resolution also calls for expanding WHO's list of approved antiretrovirals and other drugs that can be purchased by the United Nations for distribution in developing nations.
The United States opposes WHO's drugs-approval process, insisting instead that all drugs bought with U.S. foreign AIDS funds meet Food and Drug Administration checks for efficacy and safety. On Sunday, U.S. officials said the government will streamline and speed up its procedure for determining which antiretroviral medications, including generics, can be purchased with federal funds for disbursement overseas. The draft resolution was scheduled to be voted on by WHO members during Friday's meeting in Geneva.