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Reneging on Doha: An MSF analysis of recent attempts to restrict developing countries’ use of compulsory licensing to a set list of diseases

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Photograph by Carl De Keyzer

The following analysis shows that proposals to restrict the scope of the “paragraph 6 solution” of the Doha Declaration to a set list of diseases are deeply flawed.

The disease lists which have so far been put forward do not correlate with the major causes of morbidity and mortality in Africa: many public health threats have been omitted from the list. In particular, virtually all major African diseases for which there are patented medicines have been excluded from the list. Almost all the list’s “approved” diseases are those for which there is no drug treatment, or where existing treatments are already off patent. In other words, diseases for which there is neither risk nor opportunity to issue a compulsory license.

This approach looks like an attempt to protect Western drug company interests, rather than a genuine effort to improve access to the medicines needed to save millions of lives in developing countries.