The United Nations is going to hold a High Level Meeting on TB in New York in September. The member countries of UN will sign on a declaration will set the direction in which work on TB, globally, will move. The Draft Political Declaration on Fight against Tuberculosis is being negotiated by member countries this week.
The declaration will be like an international framework for TB research funding, development of new medicines, pricing and access of these medicines and new technologies. It is the first time that TB is being discussed at this fora.
For the last one month, countries have been discussing the final declaration that will be signed in September.
While the negotiations are almost over, the US has taken a hard line against TRIPS flexibilities which is holding back the final draft.
It is a clear fight between the US which is acting in the interest of its big Pharma lobby and the rest of world, especially developing countries which have high burden of TB, including DR-TB and need affordable medicines.
In fact the negotiations would have been over last Friday if not for the opposition by the US.
TRIPS flexibilities, as we know, give rights to countries protect public health and keep treatments affordable and accessible. For example, bolar provision and compulsory licenses are an important part of these flexibilities and could be used to encourage alternative suppliers to come into the market.
See letter from South African activists to J&J http://tbonline.info/posts/2018/7/13/activists-call-johnson-johnson-drop-price-bedaquil/
The draft of July 10th shows how the US is opposing TRIPS flexibilities, going against the wishes of developing countries like India.
Talks on the TB declaration were supposed to have wrapped up but they continued through Friday without resolution. The U.S. suggested it would refuse to sign the declaration at the U.N. General Assembly in September if language such as paragraph (PP19) that “recognizes the importance of affordable medicines” and urges countries to enforce intellectual property rules in ways that promote access,” is included.
The United States is trying purge the UN Political Declaration on TB of references to the WTO Doha Declaration and TRIPS flexibilities.
I have attached the draft of negotiations from 10th July. If you look at Preambular Paragraph 19 (PP19) you will see US’ opposition to TRIPS flexibilities. Similarly, Operative Paragraph 14 (OP14) also shows how the US is against it.