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South African Public Health Experts Urge Countries To Use TRIPS To Produce Generic Drugs, IPS Reports

South African public health experts from Medecins San Frontieres (MSF) South Africa and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) “are calling on governments to use legally available mechanisms to promote the production or import of generic drugs in their countries,” Inter Press Service reports. The article examines how countries can alter their patent acts under the Doha Declaration — a World Trade Organization declaration on the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and Public Health that “exists to ensure that patents do not undermine the ability of countries to achieve the right to health” — “to access generic versions of otherwise patented medicines in cases where prices are prohibitively expensive, the organizations say.”

“Without generic competition, the cost of second- and third-line [antiretrovirals (ARVs)] can be up to 20 times more expensive than first-line ARVs, confirmed MSF. Such price differences do not only apply to HIV treatment but to all drugs, including those needed to treat cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes or high-blood pressure,” IPS writes (Palitza, 11/17).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.