HC Deb 15 October 2002 vol 390 cc654-5W
Mrs. Irene Adams

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what future plans she has to help tackle HIV/AIDS in Southern African countries. [73693]

Clare Short

The Department for International Development is strongly committed to tackling HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa. We are working through national AIDS councils, and directly with ministries, civil society and the private sector. We are supporting efforts both to prevent the spread of the disease, and to care for those living with the disease and their families as well as children orphaned as a result of AIDS. Large new commitments to combat HIV/AIDS (totalling £71 million) include assistance to Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

As well as our specific support to HIV/AIDS initiatives, we aim to ensure that all our work in the region addresses the impact of HIV/AIDS, which affects every area of development.

Southern African countries will also benefit from access to the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria to which we contribute, and from our work with international partners and the pharmaceutical industry to reduce the cost of medicines in lower income countries. Investments we have made in vaccine development and microbicides should also benefit Southern Africa in the future.

Tony Baldry

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how the Government plans to implement the Accord on Patents for drugs in poorer countries, with particular reference to HIV/AIDS drugs; and how this will relate to the recent Doha developments on patented drugs. [74606]

Clare Short

The Ministerial declaration on the Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS) and Public Health agreed last November in Doha, recognised the need for a flexible interpretation of TRIPS to enable developing countries to protect public health.

The Doha Declaration was a major achievement, but the International Community have to meet their commitments if the declaration is to lead to an improvement in poor people's access to medicines. In particular, an effective and workable solution must be found to the problem of how developing countries with insufficient or no manufacturing capacities in the pharmaceutical sector are to make effective use of compulsory licensing, by the agreed December 2002 deadline.

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