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Developing Countries: HIV Infection

Volume 467: debated on Thursday 22 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effect of the World Trade Organisation’s Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights agreement on developing countries who wish to manufacture generic HIV/AIDS drugs. (165904)

There has been no formal assessment of this issue by the Government, but in 2004 the Department for International Development (DFID) funded seven independent studies that, inter alia, seek to assess the impact of the Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) on developing countries who wish to manufacture generic HIV/AIDS drugs. These are summarised in a 2004 publication by the DFID Health Systems Resource Centre: “Access to medicines in under-served markets: what are the implications of changes in intellectual property rights, trade and drug registration policy?”

This is available at:

http://www.dfidhealthrc.org/publications/atm/DFID_synthesis_aw.pdf.

These studies suggest that local production, which may be facilitated by TRIPS flexibilities, can contribute to better access and availability, but only if countries have the skills, infrastructure and regulatory capacity to produce and deliver quality medicines at lower prices than the brand-name producer.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which developing countries have been able to use Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights for domestic production of generic HIV/AIDS drugs. (165905)

To the best of our knowledge, the following countries have utilised, as permitted under the Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights, government use or compulsory licensing provisions for the production of generic versions of HIV/AIDS drugs: Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand and Zimbabwe.