The government of the Commonwealth nation of Malawi has asked for greater coherence between national laws and regional frameworks to allow better access to lifesaving medicines and health technologies for Malawi citizens with diseases like cancer
The government of the Commonwealth nation of Malawi has asked for greater coherence between national laws and regional frameworks to allow better access to lifesaving medicines and health technologies for Malawi citizens with diseases like cancer.
A growing number of cases of non-communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases and cardiovascular diseases are adding to the pressure already put on health systems by HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.
Government officials, the United Nations Development Programme, the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) and national health and trade experts met in Lilongwe, Malawi for the High-Level Meeting of ARIPO on November 1-3, 2017.
ARIPO member states were called upon to use flexibilities in intellectual property law to ensure wide-spread public access to medicines, vaccines and essential health technologies.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) has been working on these legal flexibilities, with a number of health-related policy options now available to WTO members in order to promote public health objectives, especially in Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
Consultation participants prepared the Lilongwe Communiqué, which called for solidarity and action from both national and ARIPO policy makers and practitioners, to ensure a coherent approach to affordable medicine access, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable development Goals.
With 13 out of 19 ARIPO member states recognised as LDCs, health systems across sub-Sahara Africa are under strain from the burden of disease.
Florence Rolle, United Nations Resident Coordinator ad interim in Malawi, said: “We still have a long way to go to meet the Universal Health Coverage target UN Member States committed to under Sustainable Development Goal 3.
“Countries must adopt and implement strategies to make expensive new health technologies affordable for health systems and patients.”
Fernando Dos Santos, Director-General of ARIPO, said: “ARIPO aims to promote harmonization of intellectual property laws appropriate to the needs of Member States.
“As such, we will endeavour to support Member States to take advantage of TRIPS flexibilities to promote not only access to affordable medicines, but also industrial development.”
Read More: Dr Joanna Nurse, Head of Health and Education for the Commonwealth Secretariat, summarises the Commonwealth’s health priorities and underlines its commitment to assist members in strengthening health policies and frameworks.