Press Releases

    SG/SM/8489
    14 November 2002

    SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES TRADE MINISTERS TO PROPOSE --
    "WITHOUT DELAY" -- LONG-TERM SOLUTION TO PROBLEM OF
    DELIVERING AFFORDABLE MEDICINES TO WORLD'S POOR

    NEW YORK, 13 November (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Office of the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

    The Secretary-General believes that trade can make an important contribution to development. He is, therefore, concerned about the continuing difficulties faced by developing countries in competing in world markets.

    At their meeting in Doha last year, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministers acknowledged that trading rules regulating intellectual property must not act as a barrier to the promotion and protection of public health. Accordingly, they instructed the WTO Council for TRIPs (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) to find, before the end of 2002, a solution that gives developing countries with insufficient or no manufacturing capacities in the pharmaceutical sector real flexibility to confront their public health problems. That deadline is imminent. The Secretary-General strongly urges the Trade Ministers meeting in Sydney to propose, without delay, a long-term solution that will deliver affordable medicines and vaccines to millions of people suffering from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other deadly diseases. He regards this as both a moral imperative and an economic and social necessity.

    * *** *