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Third World Resurgence #196 (December 2006)

This issue’s contents:


COVER: Five Years After Doha: Intellectual Property and Access to Medicines

Patents and medicines: Enforce the right to public health
By Chee Yoke Ling

Although five years have elapsed since the World Trade Organisation (WTO) adopted the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, which categorically stated that this particular Agreement on intellectual property norms 'can and should be interpreted and implemented...  to promote access to medicines for all', many developing countries are still not availing themselves of this flexibility.  Chee Yoke Ling argues that developing countries should use this right under international law to ensure access to affordable medicines and resist pressures from the pharmaceutical industry.

Intellectual property, innovation and investment
By Sanya Reid Smith

There is little basis for the claim that stronger intellectual property protection will increase innovation and foreign direct investment, says Sanya Reid Smith.

'TRIPS Plus' bilateral agreements - a threat to public health
By Sanya Reid Smith

Bilateral trade agreements have become the main vehicle through which developed countries have been able to compel developing countries to assume even more stringent intellectual property obligations than those required by the WTO TRIPS Agreement. Such agreements, by making access to affordable

medicines even more difficult, are exacerbating the global health crisis.

US FTAs face opposition, protests in Asia
By Chee Yoke Heong

Growing concern that bilateral free trade agreements with the US will lead to higher drug prices is fuelling public protests in Asia.

Thailand uses compulsory licence for cheaper AIDS drug
By Chee Yoke Ling

Thailand's Ministry of Public Health has taken a momentous step to secure cheaper drugs for treating AIDS in the country.

Price-cut handcuffs
By Brook K Baker

Thailand must stand up to Merck's counter-offensive and fully implement its compulsory licence on efavirenz, says Brook K Baker.

'Don't interfere with the Thai government's decision'
A letter to the USTR

James Love, the well-known activist on intellectual property concerns, in a 12 December letter to the new United States Trade Representative (USTR) Susan Schwab, called on the US to desist from undermining the Thai government's efforts to provide affordable drugs to the country's HIV patients.

Malaysia: 'Government use' route to importing generic medicines
By Chee Yoke Ling

In 2003, Malaysia became the first Asian country to issue a compulsory licence following the adoption of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health by the 2001 Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Indonesia: Manufacturing generic AIDS medicines under the 'government use' approach
By Lutfiyah Hanim and Hira Jhamtani

A presidential decree on 5 October 2004 opened the way for Indonesia to manufacture two generic medicines for treatment of AIDS under a compulsory licence.


ECOLOGY

Mudflows in East Java - a corporate-made catastrophe
By Putu Liza and Hira Jhamtani

A small district in East Java, Indonesia has been experiencing catastrophic mudflows triggered by the drilling activities of an oil and gas company. Putu Liza and Hira Jhamtani analyse this man-made calamity and the lessons to be drawn.


ECONOMICS

The dollar conundrum
By CP Chandrasekhar

The continuing decline of the US dollar spells hardship, not only for the US but the global economy. But the countries, mainly the emerging Asian economies, which have helped to prop up the dollar at great expense to themselves are not prepared to come together to seek alternatives to their current dependence on the US market for their exports. But their failure to do so is also hurting the world economy!

Why Africa considers China an opportunity
By Mohamed Gueye

In November, Beijing hosted a three-day summit to promote cooperation with Africa. While Western governments are uncomfortable with China's growing engagement in Africa, the continent's experience has so far been positive.


WORLD AFFAIRS

American intervention fuelling Palestinian infighting
By Samah Jabr

In this anguished comment on recent infighting between Fatah and Hamas militants, a Palestinian activist charges the US with interfering in an internal conflict to bring about the suicide of the Palestinian cause.

Making history
By Faiza Rady

Cuba celebrates the success of its 50-year revolution and pays tribute to Fidel Castro, reports Faiza Rady.

'Can't stay the course, can't end the war, but we'll call it "bipartisan"...'
By Phyllis Bennis and Erik Leaver

In March this year, the 10-member Iraq Study Group comprised of influential former US policy makers and office holders was set up with bipartisan congressional backing to formulate a fresh approach to the resolution of the quagmire in Iraq. The Group, which was co-chaired by former US Secretary of State James Baker and former US Congressman Lee Hamilton, recently issued its report. Phyllis Bennis and Erik Leaver analyse the report.

The atrocities of Augusto Pinochet and the United States
By Roger Burbach

General Augusto Pinochet, who died recently, toppled the democratically-elected regime of President Salvador Allende in September 1973 and instituted a brutal military dictatorship which ruled Chile for 17 long years. Although he eluded justice, as Roger Burbach points out in this commentary, the struggle to bring him to book shaped a whole generation of human rights activists determined to end the impunity of public officials.


HUMAN RIGHTS

Diamonds, genocide and resistance: A story of the people of the Kalahari
By Theresa Wolfwood

The Bushmen of the Kalahari won a major victory when the Botswana High Court ruled that the government of the African state acted unlawfully when it evicted them from their game reserve. Theresa Wolfwood reports on their epic struggle for justice, which should serve as an inspiration to other indigenous peoples in a similar predicament.


WOMEN

Juarez femicides just a drop in the ocean of blood
By Diego Cevallos

While human rights organisations have focused on the problem of femicides in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, where some 400 women have been killed in the last 13 years, it is important to bear in mind that such murders of women are also prevalent in other parts of Mexico and Latin America.

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