Geneva, 3 November 2015 — Information has emerged that the world's poorest countries - those classified as least-developed countries (LDCs) - have been granted a 17 year exemption from implementing intellectual property provisions, such as patents, on medicines. LDCs had wanted and MSF had advocated for an exemption to be granted for as long as countries were classified as a LDC.
MSF quote in response:
“For the world’s poorest countries to be granted only a 17 year exemption on implementing intellectual property for pharmaceuticals is essentially kicking the can down the road, forcing this difficult debate to resurface. Unless least-developed countries are granted an exemption until they graduate from their status as LDCs, they’ll have to keep revisiting this debate.
“The mixed bag of support for an indefinite LDC exemption at the WTO had the European Union in support; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria unfortunately sitting by silently; and the United States government vehemently opposing. We applaud the European Commission’s efforts to fully accept the LDC request, and hope the Commission continues to put the needs of people first. It’s baffling that the Global Fund did not stand up in support of people’s access to low-cost generic medicines for the world’s poorest countries. The US has denied the world’s poorest countries the security and peace of mind of an exemption until they graduate as a LDC. The deal shows that the US government is more interested in backing the commercial interests of multinational drug companies in lieu of doing what’s fair for sick people in the world’s poorest countries.”
- Rohit Malpani, Director Policy and Analysis, Médecins Sans Frontières Access Campaign.