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Cablegate: Ambassador Discusses Iraq Reconstruction,

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 006677

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR EB/TPP/MTA/IPC, EUR/SE, OES/IHA, AND NEA/NGA
DEPT PASS USTR FOR MARK WU/LISA ERRION
DEPT PASS LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
DEPT PASS USPTO FOR ELAINE WU
DEPT PASS FDA
USDOC FOR ITA/MAC/DDEFALCO


SENSITIVE


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SOCI ETRD KIPR SENV TU
SUBJECT: Ambassador Discusses Iraq Reconstruction,
Public Health, and IPR With Health Minister

Summary
-------


1. (SBU) In their first meeting, Health Minister Recep
Akdag told the Ambassador that Turkey wanted to
contribute to Iraq reconstruction by building hospitals
in Kirkuk and Baghdad. He identified decreasing
infant/childbirth mortality, public education on
AIDS/HIV and curbing smoking as public health
priorities. The Ambassador raised data exclusivity and
other problems in the pharmaceuticals industry. The
Minister acknowledged that he was following the data
exclusivity issue closely, but did not state his views
on whether and when Turkey would implement protection.
End Summary.


Building Hospitals in Iraq
--------------------------


2. (SBU) The Minister told the Ambassador that Turkey
wanted to assist Iraq's health system by building small
hospitals in Kirkuk and Baghdad. He noted that several
members of parliament recently visited Iraq as part of a
Turkish Red Crescent delegation to investigate possible
assistance, and that work had already begun on a
hospital for Kirkuk. Akdag said that security and
finance are constraints to expanding aid in this area.
Noting that he had recently met one of the MPs involved
in these projects, the Ambassador responded that he
welcomed Turkey's contribution in reconstruction of
Iraq's health sector.


Public Health Issues
--------------------


3. (U) Infant/Childbirth Mortality: The Minister stated
that continued high infant and maternal mortality in
childbirth are serious problems, particularly in eastern
and southeastern Turkey. The GOT is trying to address
the problem through higher salaries for health service
providers in those areas and introducing a family
physician system in Turkey. Akdag said the GOT also
aims to encourage more breastfeeding of infants.


4. (U) AIDS: He said there are only 1,600 registered
AIDS cases in Turkey, but the true number is higher.
Akdag identified foreign tourists and sex workers as
contributing to the spread of AIDS in Turkey. He opined
that the Turkish public is not well-informed about the
disease, and said the Ministry would increase public
information efforts in the coming year.


5. (U) Other Issues: Akdag said Turkish legislation on
smoking in public areas is restrictive, but not well-
enforced. He said the Ministry was working on an anti-
smoking campaign. Other important issues are clean
drinking water, a problem especially in rural areas, and
air quality, improved in recent years through greater
use of natural gas.


Pharmaceuticals and Intellectual Property
-----------------------------------------


6. (SBU) The Ambassador raised problems facing research-
based pharmaceuticals manufacturers, particularly lack
of data exclusivity protection, price controls,
transparency and the possibility that patent protection
could be watered down. The Ambassador pointed out that
these problems are emerging as obstacles in our
bilateral relationship in the context of the Special 301
review of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection,
as well as in Turkey's aspirations to join the European
Union. The Ambassador acknowledged the GOT's need to
curb health care costs, but urged Akdag to bear in mind
the long-term costs of weak IPR protection as foreign
pharmaceuticals manufacturers may opt not to launch new
drugs in Turkey in the future. Weak IPR protection also
undermines the GOT's efforts to strengthen the
investment climate and attract foreign investment. The
Ambassador urged the Minister to meet with research-
based companies and to take their views into account in
formulating pharmaceuticals sector policy.


7. (SBU) The Minister agreed on the importance of
transparent policies and said he had met with
representatives of the research-based drug manufacturers
association on these issues. He said he was following
the data exclusivity issue closely, but that the Health
Ministry was only one of several agencies sitting on a
GOT commission to decide on a course of action.


8. (SBU) In response to a question from the Ambassador
on bioequivalence of generic drugs, the Minister
responded that the Ministry will exclude from
reimbursement pharmaceuticals which do not pass a review
of bioequivalence with the original medication. Akdag
said he has accelerated review of bioequivalence
applications, claiming that he has approved more drugs
in his seven months as Minister than during the previous
three years.
Edelman

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