At the Ministerial conference in Doha, the Member States of the World Trade Organization committed themselves to solving the problem of the export of generics from producing to non-producing countries by the end of 2002. At the last meeting of the TRIPS Council this year, Nov. 25-27, Pascal Lamy’s position will be decisive.
More than 40 million people with HIV/AIDS do not have access to treatments. 40 000 persons die every day of infectious diseases and the great majority of the hardest-hit countries are not able to produce the necessary treatments on their own.
Each country should be able to have access to the medicines, active ingredients, test kits etc its population needs, as quickly and easily as if it were able to produce them on its own.
This is why WTO Members must, as quickly as possible, allow some countries to produce, sell and export generics, and other countries to import them in sufficient quantities and as soon as possible.
However, some rich countries are trying to impose on developing countries a consensus solution which, in fact, will not make access to generics easier.
Thus they are trying to restrict the scope of the agreement to some diseases, going back on their Doha pledge to give public health concerns precedence over commercial interests. In the same way these countries are trying to restrict the variety of health products concerned as well as the number of countries that could benefit from the agreement or would be allowed to export generics.
To get rid of a troublesome issue for developed countries in international negotiations, Pascal Lamy, who is deeply embroiled in the discussions, is more concerned with the necessity to reach a consensus than with the need to implement a definitive, non-restrictive, truly workable solution .
Just in order to reach a consensus with the United States he is ready to sell out on millions of people who are victims of HIV/AIDS, cancer, hepatitis C or other diseases.