Declaration on Patents and Medicines

Meeting of the Socialist International Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, Santiago, Chile, 30-31 May 1997

Original: Spanish

The Socialist International Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, SICLAC, meeting in Santiago on 30-31 May, 1997, declares that:

Recently there have been strong pressures on our countries to accept or give validity to the abusive patterns of patent systems meant for and directed at more developed countries, where they are already being strongly questioned, in the sense that it is being pointed out that they limit the innovative process, since they function on the basis of creating an artificial shortage in the production and commercialisation of new products, ensuring a monopoly in that particular product. Thus the system is based on restriction, high price and inaccessibility of the product for significant sectors of the population.

Patent systems constitute an important instrument in the economic and social development of humanity, because the new products are not the result of a gratuitous process or one that just happens by chance, so the existence of special systems which recognise and act as a spur to different innovative activities must be accepted. No­one wants to stop paying and we respect the rights to intellectual property. However, insofar as medicines are concerned, these should be accessible to all sectors of the population and means of commercialisation should be established which duly look after the earnings of researchers, but without forgetting about those who are ill.

Therefore, in the face of such pressures, the possibility of producing and selling new medicaments must be secured, paying the royalties that are due, but without allowing legal monopolies to be created which can prevent their utilisation.