Race Against Time: The Export of Essential Medicines to Rwanda
Public Health Ethics, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 89-103, July 2008
32 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2008 Last revised: 17 Feb 2014
This article considers the significance of the first export of essential medicines under the WTO General Council Decision 2003. In July 2007, Rwanda became the first country to provide a notification under the WTO General Council Decision 2003 of its intent to import a fixed-dose, triple combination HIV/AIDS drug manufactured by the Canadian generic pharmaceutical manufacturer Apotex, Inc. In September 2007, Apotex was granted the first compulsory licence application under Canada's Access to Medicines Regime. This article considers the convoluted and protracted negotiations between the Government of Rwanda, Apotex and three patent holders, GlaxoSmithKline, Boehringer Ingleheim Canada and Shire BioChemical, Inc. It questions the efficiency of this process. This article considers the review of the Jean Chretien Pledge to Africa Act 2004 (Canada). It is critical of the refusal of the Conservative Government of Canada to make any amendments to the legislation to improve the cost-effective delivery of essential medicines. This article queries the proposed Hong Kong Amendment to the TRIPS Agreement 1994, given the concerns of the Africa Group. It is submitted that it is undesirable to codify the WTO General Council Decision 2003, given its failure to provide a speedy, efficient and cost-effective delivery of essential medicines.
Keywords: Patent Law, Pharmaceutical Drugs, Compulsory Licensing, Access to Essential Medicines, HIV/AIDS, Rwanda, Canada, World Trade Organization, TRIPS Agreement 1994, Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health 2001, WTO General Council Decision 2003, Jean Chretien Pledge to Africa Act 2004
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