Pharmaceutical Companies want Protection against WTO

3121 Views Kampala, Uganda
Local pharmaceutical companies have called upon Government to take a more proactive role in protecting them against the stringent World Trade Organization regulations. The pharmaceutical companies are particularly concerned about the impact that the Trade in Intellectual Property Rights agreement is having on the growth of the Uganda medicines industry. They want more Government assistance in lobbying for the exportation of generic drugs to other countries in eastern Africa, as well as increased support to obtain patents for their products. Under the Trade in Intellectual Property Rights agreement, patent protection is one incentive for the research and development of new drugs because it provides the patent owner with the legal means to prevent others from making, using, or selling the new invention. Despite these merits there is concern that the agreement prevents developing countries from producing of buying generic drugs that usually cost much less than brand name drugs. Among the critics of the agreement is the United Nations Development Program, which has questioned the compatibility of the Trade in Intellectual Property Rights agreement with human rights law and its impact on access to essential drugs in low income countries. Representatives from Ugandan pharmaceutical companies attending a meeting on health marketing in Kampala, say the World Trade Organization rules unfairly restrict them from obtaining supplies of copies of patented drugs from other countries. Sulaiman Bukenya from Mavid Pharmaceuticals Limited says Government needs to show support to the pharmaceutical industry by protecting it against excessive international trade regulations. He says the growth of the local pharmaceutical industry should be of paramount importance. // Cue in: iTo facilitate our #i Cue out: i# hold us responsible.i// Lending his voice to this debate is Nazeem Mohammed of Kampala Pharmaceutical Industries. He notes that the Trade in Intellectual Property Rights agreement led to his company's termination of a deal to supply the Global Fund with anti-malarial packages called HOMAPACK. HOMAPACK contained pre-packed antimalarials