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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

Southern Africa Group Agrees to Oppose Enforcement of Patent




 

Associated Press (08.26.03) - Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa said Tuesday that leaders from the 13-country Southern Africa Development Community would oppose enforcement of patent rights on AIDS, TB and malaria drugs at the World Trade Organization meeting next month in Cancun, Mexico. SADC leaders, concluding their annual summit on Tuesday, said that delegates to the Sept. 10-14 WTO meeting should speak with the "strongest united voice for an equal chance in the battle for life." African leaders say the enforcement of patent laws limits their ability to provide treatment for their people by prohibiting their countries from producing or importing generic drugs.

Mkapa said there must be a distinction between promoting trade and helping the less fortunate. SADC will also seek to have the United States and the European Union lift subsidies and trade barriers on agricultural products, often the economic mainstays of developing countries.

In addition, SADC leaders signed charters on human rights and mutual defense at the two-day summit in Dar es Salaam. Both seek to deepen political, defense and security cooperation among the countries. Although not geographically part of southern Africa, Tanzania joined SADC and opted out of COMESA, a looser regional organization. Other members of the alliance are South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mauritius, Congo and Angola. Nearly 200 million people live in the 13 countries.



 


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Information in this article was accurate in August 27, 2003. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.