The forthcoming WTO summit offers an unparalleled opportunity to change global patent rules, known as the TRIPS agreement, so that vital medicines are not priced out of reach of people living in poverty. Unfortunately, the US government is opposing the developing-country call for TRIPS to be clarified and interpreted in favour of public health. Oxfam urges industrialised countries, above all the United States, to support this call, agree to an in-depth review of the agreement, and cease putting pressure on countries to implement unduly restrictive patent measures. Action to prevent TRIPS from obstructing access to medicines is the litmus test for the WTO’s commitment to make trade rules work for poverty reduction.
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