Medicines (Developing Countries)

Trade and Industry written question – answered on 31st October 2001.

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Photo of Mr Bill Tynan Mr Bill Tynan Labour, Hamilton South

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if her Department will press the forthcoming WTO summit to take steps to ensure that developing countries have access to cheap medicines.

Photo of Nigel Griffiths Nigel Griffiths Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry

We are working with the European Union and others to ensure that the WTO's existing rules on intellectual property help developing countries gain access to medicines. This means making sure that new medicines are developed while at the same time allowing developing countries to take appropriate measures to protect public health in national emergencies.

Intellectual property rights need to be part of wider action to address the problems facing developing countries in delivering effective healthcare to all their citizens. That is why the UK strongly supports the global fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and why my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister asked my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development to form a high level working group to report back by May 2002 on what else needs to be done.

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