France to apply WTO generic drug pact by 2005

23rd November 2004, Comments 0 comments

DAKAR, Nov 22 (AFP) - French Health Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Monday that France will by early next year implement a World Trade Organisation pact to make generic drugs more accessible to poor countries.

DAKAR, Nov 22 (AFP) - French Health Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Monday that France will by early next year implement a World Trade Organisation pact to make generic drugs more accessible to poor countries.

"The bill is ready and we will be able to submit it to parliament in January," Douste-Blazy told reporters Monday during a day-long visit to Senegal.

"What we need is for other European countries to follow us," he added, pointing to Spain which has said it would also develop its own version of the pact.

The WTO reached a deal in 2003 aimed at giving developing countries access to essential medicines they would not normally be able to afford.

So far, only Canada and Norway have passed the bill, which grants "obligatory licences" to generic pharmaceutical companies so they can meet demand from poorer countries for drugs they do not have the capacity to produce themselves.

The European Commission in October proposed a licensing system to make it easier for European generic drug makers to treat killer diseases such as AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis that would also contain specifics on labelling and packaging of cut-price drugs to prevent their re-importation to the west.

Douste-Blazy also told President Abdoulaye Wade that France would help its former west African colony to build a laboratory to manufacture its own generic drugs, the Senegalese Press Agency reported.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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