Daniele Dionisio on Asia-Pacific geopolitics and access to medicine

Daniele Dionisio, member of the European Parliament Working Group on Innovation, Access to Medicines and Poverty-Related Diseases.

On the chessboard that is the Asia-Pacific region, a fight over intellectual property, business ownership and trade may affect global health, writes Daniele Dionisio in an exclusive guest opinion. Check out this excerpt:

More than half of a total population of 5 billion people in developing countries rely on less than $2 per day. Patent protection has been criticized for hampering non-discriminatory access to medicines by delaying competition from generic versions of drugs and extending unaffordable monopoly prices for brand-name products.

High-quality, cheap medicines for tuberculosis, malaria and HIV – also as combination treatments – are currently being manufactured in India. Since such drugs from India (as well as South Africa and elsewhere) serve as a lifeline to resource-limited countries, it is a priority that their production is safeguarded.

As a World Trade Organization member, India has an obligation to enforce patent protection rules. However, its drug programs – and the export of medicine to developing countries in Africa and elsewhere – may be jeopardized by free trade agreements and intellectual property enforcement agendas that go beyond the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, or TRIPS.

Read Daniele Dionisio’s full op-ed, brought to you by Devex in partnership with the United Nations Foundation.

About the author

  • Daniele Dionisio

    Daniele Dionisio is a member of the European Parliament Working Group on Innovation, Access to Medicines and Poverty-Related Diseases, and a reference advisor on medicines for developing countries for the Italian Society for Infectious and Tropical Diseases. He is the former director of the Pistoia Hospital’s infectious disease division, and serves as a member of the Italian Global Health Watch. His research focuses on equitable access to medicines for communicable diseases in resource-limited countries; the views expressed in his writing are his own.