EU Adopts Modified TRIPS Agreement

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TheEuropean Union on Monday at a meeting in Brussels, Belgium,adopted a modified version of the World TradeOrganization's Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of International Property Rights

--which aims to improve access to low-cost HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malariadrugs in developing countries -- AFP/Nasdaq.com reports (AFP/Nasdaq.com, 11/19).

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The TRIPS agreement allows developingcountries to issue compulsory licenses to import generic drugs fordiseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB or malaria if a country confirms that itcannot manufacture them domestically. In addition, governments canapprove the domestic production of generic versions of patented drugsduring emergency public health situations if they fail to reach anagreement with the patent holder, according to the agreement (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/14/06).

TheEuropean Union is "firmly committed to ensure that, in particular,least-developed countries have access to essential medicines at thelowest possible prices, in particular in their fight against HIV/AIDS,TB and malaria," E.U. foreign ministers said in a statement.

They addedthat health is an "essential component" of the United Nations Millennium Development Goalsand "one of the main priorities of the E.U. development policy." TheTRIPS agreement will be binding if two-thirds of the 151 WTO memberssign it. About 12 countries -- including India, Japan and the U.S. --had ratified the agreement ahead of the E.U. foreign ministers meeting,according to AFP/Nasdaq.com (AFP/Nasdaq.com, 11/19).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyHIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report ispublished for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser FamilyFoundation.

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