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African Countries Urged To Respect International IP Rules

by Robert Lee, for LawAndTax-News.com, London

06 June 2005


Speaking at the World Economic Forum last week, representatives of international pharamceutical firms called on African countries to respect international intellectual property protections standards, particularly in relation to the creation of generic copies of drugs to treat HIV infection, tuburculosis and malaria.

According to reports in the regional media, Stavros Nicolau, who heads the strategic trade department of Africa's largest pharmaceutical manufacturer, Aspen Pharmacare told those attending the meeting that the manfacturers of generic drugs should negotiate with the firms holding the patents on those drugs in order to secure licences.

Currently, many such firms demand that governments override drug patents to allow the production of cheap copies, a move permitted under World Trade Organisation rules during a national health emergency.

"Compulsory licences are not practical (and) will scare off foreign investment," Mr Nicolau argued, explaining that companies which have invested large amounts of resources in the development of a new drug need to be sure that they will recoup their investment.


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