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Global Trade Negotiations Must Consider Inequalities In Access To Medicines

Some of the issues to be addressed at the U.N. High-level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) taking place this week in New York “are controversial, including those relating to intellectual property rights for new medicines, diagnostics and medical devices,” James Love, director of Knowledge Ecology International, writes in an Al Jazeera opinion piece. “By continuing to assert that the Doha Declaration is in fact limited in various ways, U.S. and European trade negotiators have tried to discourage the granting of compulsory licenses on patents for high-priced drugs for cancer and other non-communicable diseases,” he continues, before outlining a proposal called the “cancer prize approach” that would de-link drug prices from research and development incentives.

“Inequalities of access to medicine and health care are already shocking,” and “trade pressures” from the U.S. and European countries “just make things worse,” Love writes, adding, “Negotiators at the U.N. meetings, public health groups, politicians, and the public need to push back and demand changes in global trade negotiations” (9/16).