AHF Endorses Sen. Sanders’ Call on US & World Trade Organization to Back Waiver of Drug Patents in Poor Countries

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As World Trade Organization meets in Geneva this week, AHF lauds
Senator Bernie Sanders for letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael
Froman to “…request the administration endorse an indefinite waiver of
the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) obligations to grant and enforce
pharmaceutical patents for countries classified by the UN as LDCs (Least
Developed Countries).”

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AIDS
Healthcare Foundation
(AHF) applauded Sen.
Bernie Sanders
(I-VT) and endorsed his recent call on the United
States to support an indefinite waiver of drug patents in least
developed countries (LDC). In anticipation of World Trade Organization
(WTO) meetings in Geneva this week to update WTO standards on granting
and enforcing drug patents, Senator Sanders wrote a letter to U.S. Trade
Representative Michael Froman requesting that “…the administration
endorse an indefinite waiver of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO)
obligations to grant and enforce pharmaceutical patents for countries
classified by the UN as LDCs.”

In his September 28th letter
to Froman, Sanders noted “Based on conversations between my staff and
the staff of the United States Trade Representative, I understand the
administration does not support a permanent exception for drug patents
for these poor countries.”
He later added “Making sure people in
poor countries have access to life-saving medicine is our moral
responsibility.”

According to Sanders, “…these impoverished countries submitted a
request to the WTO (in February) for a permanent extension of the
exception of the obligation to grant drug patents, for as long as a
country is classified as an LCD by the UN. The WTO rules require such
requests to be granted when they are ‘duly motivated.’ This is a
reasonable standard. It means that poor countries will be able to afford
medicine to keep their people alive.”

“We once again thank Senator Sanders for his compassion and common sense
leadership on drug pricing and policies and urge the U.S. Trade
Representative to back—and the WTO to grant—the requested drug patent
exemptions for these countries in order that they may afford lifesaving
medicines they need,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “As
Senator Sanders simply stated in closing his letter: ‘Too many lives are
at stake’.”

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS
organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over
492,000 individuals in 36 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin
America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn
more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org,
find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth
and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare
and Instagram: @aidshealthcare

Contacts

AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Ged Kenslea, Senior Director,
Communications
+1.323.308.1833 work
+1.323.791.5526 mobile
gedk@aidshealth.org
or
Christopher
Johnson,
Associate Director of Communications
+1.323.960.4846
work
+1.310.880.9913 mobile
christopher.johnson@aidshealth.org