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May 19, 2008

Global Health Ministers Talk HIV Drug Access

At the five-day World Health Assembly (WHA), which began today, May 19, health ministers from around the globe will meet with World Health Organization officials in Geneva to discuss how to make medicines—including medications for people living with HIV and other incurable conditions—more affordable and easier to access, reports Reuters UK (uk.reuters.com, 5/14).

The World Trade Organization’s Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) has been criticized for not meeting the needs of people in poor countries who need generic versions of lifesaving drugs. But health officials are optimistic that the WHA will resolve many of these issues by the end of the assembly.

“It is now up to the World Health Assembly in May to translate bold ideas into concrete action,” said a Doctors Without Borders statement. “What we need to see is a wider, more ambitious framework for [research and development] and political leadership, in particular from WHO.”


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