SYDNEY SA Trade and Industry Minister Alec Erwin has hailed progress made at an informal World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting towards agreement on binding global rules that will give developing nations the right to purchase generic drugs for diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
The agreement will
also authorise SA to manufacture generic medicines not only for its own needs,
but also for export to subSaharan
Without WTO cover for the import, export and production of generic drugs, there would be a danger that developing nations would be unable to secure medicines to deal with medical crisis and serious health threats.
"We are very close to a deal," said Erwin. "This meeting has taken a positive step forward."
He said once the deal was formalised SA and other members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) could manufacture generic drugs for export to the SADC region.
"We have some
manufacturing capacity, but the needs in southern
Minister Mark Vaile, who chaired the meeting of WTO trade ministers in
"There is a high level of confidence that this issue may be resolved by the end of the year," said Vaile.
Erwin said developed countries would be expected to "opt out" of exporting cheap generic drugs to developing nations.
He said calls by SA,