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Developing countries call on WHO to focus on public health issues not drug patents

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 27 May 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2867
  1. John Zarocostas
  1. 1Geneva

    Developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America—spearheaded by India and Brazil—have secured passage of a resolution that calls for a major review of the World Health Organization’s role in combating counterfeit and substandard drugs.

    The demands seek to curtail the role of WHO in intellectual property enforcement issues and to prioritise public health concerns.

    The resolution calls for Margaret Chan, head of WHO, to establish a working group to examine from a “public health perspective, excluding intellectual property considerations,” the agency’s role “in measures to ensure the availability of quality, safe, efficacious and affordable medical products.”

    It also calls for an examination of WHO’s relationship with the International Medical Products Anti-counterfeiting Taskforce, which includes the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations, and international agencies such as the World Customs Organization, Interpol, the World Trade Organization, the OECD, among others.

    Maria Nazareth Farani Azevedo, Brazil’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, told the BMJ, “What we have today in WHO is a blurred process in which …

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