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Rich Countries Betraying Their Obligations To Help Poor Countries Protect Public Health

Armen Hareyan's picture

Most poor people are yet to benefit from the Doha Declaration

Poor people in developing countries are still being denied cheaper life-saving medicines five years after world leaders signed a formal trade declaration to put health before profits.

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In a report published today marking the fifth anniversary of the Doha Declaration, "Patents vs. Patients: Five Years After the Doha Declaration," international agency Oxfam says that rich countries are taking little or no action towards their obligations and are in some cases actually undermining the declaration.

The declaration says that developing countries must be able to use public health safeguards written into the WTO's intellectual property rules (called TRIPS) in order to access cheaper generic versions of patented medicines. Generic competition is the most sustainable way to keep the price of medicines down, says Oxfam.

"Rich countries have broken the spirit of the Doha Declaration," said Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign head Celine Charveriat. "The declaration said the right things but needed political action to work. That hasn't happened. We have