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World

REUTERS
September 16, 2018

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UN agrees global plan to battle

UNITED NATIONS: UN member-states agreed on a global plan to step up the fight against tuberculosis, the world´s number one killer among infectious diseases, settling a row with the United States over access to cheap drugs.

Following weeks of tough negotiations, the text of a final declaration won approval and will be formally adopted at the first-ever TB summit on September 26, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York.

In July, South Africa clashed with the United States over proposals to water down language recognizing the right of poorer countries to access cheaper medicines. The contested language referred to the so-called TRIPS trade arrangements dealing with intellectual property rights. A compromise was reached that strengthened references to TRIPS.

Medical charity MSF had backed South Africa´s stance and urged countries to resist what it described as an "aggressive push" by the US pharmaceutical lobby to restrict access to low-cost drugs. At the summit world leaders will commit to end the tuberculosis epidemic by 2030 and come up with $13 billion annually to achieve that goal, according to the 53-point final declaration.

An additional $2 billion will be spent globally to fund tuberculosis research -- up from $700 million currently.

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