NGOs want cheaper medicines law strengthened

Posted on January 26, 2009. Filed under: News |

Posted date: September 17, 2008
Published by: Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines–The implementing rules and regulations of what is known as the cheaper medicines law — Republic Act 9502, “An Act Providing for Cheaper and Quality Medicines” — should not allow big foreign pharmaceutical firms to use the law to their advantage and defeat the purpose of giving consumers greater access to lower-priced medicines, local and foreign nongovernmental organizations said.

The groups — including Oxfam, Third World Network, Cut the Cost, Cut the Pain Network, Ayos na Gamot sa Abot-Kayang Presyo coalition and the Cancer Warriors Foundation—recently submitted a proposed set of implementing rules and regulations, or IRR, to the Intellectual Property Office.

The proposed IRR aims “to prevent abuses by pharmaceutical companies of their patent privileges,” they said in a joint statement.

“The process of ensuring patent flexibilities and reform was not completed with the passage of RA 9502,” said Mira Bacatan of Oxfam. “This law should not give big foreign pharmaceutical [firms] any opportunity to exploit the law’s weaknesses, which would harm the interests of poor Filipinos.”

The groups said the government should clarify in the IRR the law’s provision on public noncommercial use of patented medicines, which allows the government to issue a compulsory license even without the patent owner’s consent. Abigail L. Ho; edited by INQUIRER.net

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