Opinion: The Grant of Patents and the Exorbitant Cost of “Lifesaving” Drugs

The important relationship between the examination of patents carried out by national patent offices and the right of citizens to access to medicines hasn't always been well-understood. Too often these are viewed as unrelated functions or responsibilities of the state. And the reason is clear: patentability requirements are not defined by patent offices, but frequently by the courts, tribunals, legislation or treaty negotiators.

The U.N. at 70: Drugs and Crime are Challenges for Sustainable Development

With terrorism, migrant smuggling and trafficking in cultural property some of the world's most daunting challenges, "the magnitude of the problems we face is such that it is sometimes hard to imagine how any effort can be enough to confront them. But to quote Nelson Mandela, 'It always seems impossible until it is done'. We must keep working together, until it is done."

Kenya Struggles with Rising Alcoholism

Despite legislative attempts to curb drinking, Kenya is still facing its greatest threat from alcohol abuse. Calamities associated with excessive intoxication – dementia, seizures, liver disease and early death – have done little to deter users.

Drug Violence Leaves a String of Ghost Towns in Mexico

Cerro del Águila, which two centuries ago was a refuge for independence fighters in Mexico, is now a stronghold of organised crime groups engaged in turf wars for control of the prosperous poppy trade and trafficking routes, which have left a string of ghost towns in their wake.

Marginalised Communities Warn of AIDS/TB “Tragedy” in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Marginalised communities and civil society groups helping them are warning of a “tragedy” in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) as international funding for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) programmes in the regions is cut back.

OPINION: Tackling the Proliferation of Patents to Avoid Limitations to Competition

The steady increase in patent applications and grants that is taking place in developed and some developing countries (notably in China) is sometimes hailed as evidence of the strength of global innovation and of the role of the patent system in encouraging it. 

Georgia’s Female Drug Addicts Face Double Struggle

Irina was 21 when she first started using drugs. More than 30 years later, having lost her husband, her home and her business to drugs, she is still battling her addiction.

Latin America’s Anti-drug Policies Feed on the Poor

Poor young men, slumdwellers and single mothers are hurt the most by anti-drug policies in Latin America, according to representatives of governments, social organisations and multilateral bodies meeting at the Fifth Latin American Conference on Drug Policies.

Outdated Approaches Fuelling TB in Russia, Say NGOs

When Veronika Sintsova was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 2009, she spent six months in hospital before being discharged and allowed to continue treatment as an outpatient.

Moscow Protest Highlights Litany of Abuses Suffered by Russia’s Drug Users

A protest in Moscow Thursday marking the U.N. International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking has highlighted the ‘torture’ drug users are put through in the Russian criminal justice system.

Let Colombia End Its Civil War

After half a century, Colombia may put an end to its conflict—if the U.S. will allow it.

Russian Law Corners Drug Users

As local authorities prepare to put an end to opioid substitution treatment (OST) programmes in the newly annexed Crimean peninsula, drug users there say they are being forced to choose between a return to addiction and becoming refugees.

Divisions Over Drugs Rise

A top level United Nations conference on drugs has highlighted growing divisions between member states on how to move forward in dealing with global drug problems as calls grow for major reforms in approaches to international drug policy.

Drug Trade Takes a Turn for the Worse in Honduras

Discovery and destruction of an elaborate greenhouse for growing opium poppy and marijuana on a western hill, La Cumbre, has alerted the Honduran authorities to the fact that this is no longer just a transit country for illicit drugs, but also a producer and processor.

For Parents of Sick Children, It’s Move or Break the Law

Beth Collins recently picked up and moved from Virginia to Colorado, but it wasn't for the typical reasons: new job, better schools, nicer weather. Collins' 14-year-old daughter, Jennifer, has intractable epilepsy. Medical cannibis eases her frequent seizures. But it's illegal in their home state.

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