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5 US Congress Members Supporting LDC Waiver from TRIPS

Dear subscribers,

Please see attached a letter, signed by five Members of the United States Congress, including Barbara Lee who served as a Member of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, to the acting US Trade Representative. The letter urges the US Government to consider a proposal by Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to extend the waiver of obligations by LDCs under the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), for as long as a country remains an LDC. The letter outlines the special and urgent health needs of LDCs, and highlights concern that if the proposal fails, and LDCs are obliged to become TRIPS compliant, it could limit access to quality, affordable medicines in these countries.

The LDC proposal is consistent with the Global Commission’s Recommendation 6.4  which reads as follows:

“The WTO Members must indefinitely extend the exemption for LDCs from the application of TRIPS provisions in the case of pharmaceutical products. The UN and its member states must mobilise adequate resources to support LDCs to retain this policy latitude.”

The proposal is facing significant resistance from some developed countries, but support for its approval has been extensive amongst public health groups. The proposal has received backing from UNDP and UNAIDS (for more information see a media release and Issues brief http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2013/02/26/unaids-and-undp-back-proposal-to-allow-least-developed-countries-to-maintain-and-scale-up-access-to-essential-medicines/).

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