TRIPS TRIPS is the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Framed within the WTO, by “consensus” Regulates intellectual property protection in member countries
Intellectual Property? Property Rights rationale Pfizer played a key role in introducing TRIPS 1995: Intellectual Property Rights globalized Who benefits from the globalization of patents?
Access to medicines Drug donations: a ploy? The threat of spurious drugs and the fear of Parallel importing – myths vs reality Compulsory licensing – who does it and why?
The Access GAP 2.4 Million people died of AIDS in sub Saharan Africa in 2002 – yet only 50,000 in the region had access to medicines for AIDS. 485,000 people died of AIDS in Asia in 2002 – yet only 43,000 in the region had access to medicines for AIDS. (UNAIDS)
Myth #1: Poor people can’t take medicines Figures from a variety of resource-poor settings (Brazil, Haiti, South Africa) indicate otherwise. Empirical data from a range of resource poor settings indicates that poor people have at least as good – or better – adherence to AIDS medication than their counterparts in US/EU. (Paul Farmer & Sally Blower – Haiti, MSF reports from Khayelitsha, Capetown and Ministry of Health statistics from Brazil)
Myth #2: Its not the price of medicines, it’s the lack of health infrastructure True that health infrastructure in poor countries may often be limited But no particularly complex/ expensive training or infrastructure is required to run a successful treatment program (Paul Farmer, Haiti) In all cases, the price of medicines is a key component of treatment access
Myth #3: Patents don’t affect treatment access at all Look at Brazil (Tina Rosenberg of NY Times, for one, did) • Brazil successfully resisted imposition of patent protection and actively fought (and fights) the system • Provided universal treatment for AIDS • Avoided 90,000 AIDS deaths • Increased HIV+ survival lifespan by several years • Reported high adherence in patients on medicines • Massively reduced hospitalization costs
Access to life AIDS is not the only disease for which medicines are patented Patents, in their current application, deny poor people access to new health innovations But then, you must want to believe that its not just the rich who have the right to live.