[A2k] Remarks by UNAIDS Secretariat and on behalf of UNDP: Capacity building on the Paragraph 6 System and related TRIPS flexibilities

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Wed Nov 3 23:42:13 PDT 2010


Remarks by UNAIDS Secretariat and on behalf of UNDP: Capacity building  
on the Paragraph 6 System and related TRIPS flexibilities
By thiru
Created 2 Nov 2010 - 1:50pm
The following statement was delivered on Wednesday, 27 October 2010 by  
the UNAIDS Secretariat and on behalf of UNDP during the Annual Review  
of Paragraph 6.


World Trade Organization
Council for TRIPS – Regular Session
Annual Review of Paragraph 6
Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health
Agenda item 4 – Capacity building on the Paragraph 6 System and  
related TRIPS flexibilities
Remarks by UNAIDS Secretariat and on behalf of UNDP
27 October 2010

Mr Chair, Distinguished Delegates

• Allow me, at the outset, to express UNAIDS’ appreciation to the  
Council for the opportunity to observe today’s important meeting and  
to make this statement. At least two of the ten UNAIDS Cosponsoring  
agencies – WHO and UNDP – provide important technical expertise and  
action within our Joint United Nations Programme in the area of  
intellectual property and access to HIV medicines, and you have heard  
directly from WHO. I am here today representing the UNAIDS Secretariat  
and also on behalf of our Cosponsor, the United Nations Development  
Programme (UNDP).
• Mr Chair, the work of UNAIDS and its co-sponsoring agencies is  
guided by the health related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with  
special attention to MDG 6 which is “to halt and reverse the spread  
and HIV, Malaria and other epidemics by 2015”. With AIDS the leading  
cause of death worldwide among women of reproductive age, and with the  
possibility of virtually eliminating mother-to-child transmission of  
HIV, an integrated approach to the AIDS response is also central to  
improving maternal and child health.
	• We believe that this discussion by the Council for TRIPS is timely  
for a number of reasons:
	• Treatment of HIV infection – antiretroviral treatment – is  
significantly reducing mortality for people living with HIV. At the  
end of 2009, 5.2 million people were on HIV treatment, a twelve-fold  
increase from 2003 when WHO and UNAIDS first launched the historic 3- 
by-5 Initiative. According to estimates, the total number of people  
for whom antiretroviral treatment is needed is approximately 15 million.
	• The global economic crisis has begun to adversely affect  
prospective commitments to AIDS from both donors and low- and middle- 
income countries. For the first time in a decade, disbursements from  
donors for HIV/AIDS actually fell in 2009 from a high of US$7.7  
billion one year earlier.
	• The 2009 report of the inquiry of the United Kingdom’s All-Party  
Parliamentary Group on AIDS into long-term access to HIV medicines  
reports that we are sitting on “a treatment time bomb.” The cost of  
the least expensive first generation regimen has now dropped to less  
than $70 per patient, per year. But as increasing numbers of people  
move towards more efficacious and tolerable first line treatment  
regimens, some experts project drug prices to double compared to first  
generation regimens. As patients develop drug resistance and require  
more expensive and more highly patent-protected second- and third-line  
antiretroviral medicines, some projections see treatment costs  
escalating as much as twenty-fold.
• In addition to the important work being undertaken by WHO, under the  
UNAIDS division of Labor UNDP is mandated to serve as the lead  
Cosponsor in providing support to governments to incorporate public  
health related TRIPS flexibilities into appropriate domestic  
legislation. In cooperation with WHO and on behalf of UNAIDS, UNDP has  
provided policy and technical support to countries reforming domestic  
property legislation to incorporate public health related TRIPS.
• The most recent example of UNDP’s work in technical cooperation on  
the Paragraph 6 system has been to provide assistance to civil society  
organizations advocating for a revised Access to Medicines Regime in  
Canada. As the Council has heard, Canada was the first country to  
amend  its law to give effect to the August 30 2003 Decision. Bill C  
393 has been proposed to streamline the practicability of the August  
30 2003 Decision. Together with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network,  
in February 2010 UNDP coorganized consultations to explore  
opportunities to strengthen the CAMR. The focus of the discussions was  
on ensuring compliance of Bill C-393 with the TRIPS Agreement and on  
giving more flexible and rapid effect to the 30 August 2003 Decision.  
In addition, a UNDP staff member was invited by and appeared before  
the Canadian House of Parliament to provide technical information.
• In 2003, UNAIDS welcomed the multilateral consensus among WTO Member  
States regarding access to affordable medicines for countries without  
sufficient manufacturing capacity in the pharmaceutical sector. We  
appreciated that the consensus covered public health problems in  
addition to AIDS, since people living with HIV are prone to a host of  
opportunistic infections – TB, cancers, fungal infections and others –  
and these
diseases are important health problems in themselves. UNAIDS urged  
that the arrangements under the 30 August Decision of the Council for  
TRIPS be implemented in the most flexible manner possible, so that  
countries could utilize the system easily and efficiently in their  
efforts to  ensure greater access to HIV medicines for their peoples.
• In reality very few importing countries have introduced provisions  
that would facilitate the use of the August 30, 2003 Mechanism. In  
2007, UNDP provided assistance for the introduction of such provisions  
to legislators in Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania. The  
Industrial Property Act 4 of 2008 came into operation in the second  
half of that year and contains a number of important TRIPS  
flexibilities including the exclusion of
pharmaceutical patents until 2016 or such other time as might be  
agreed by WTO Member States. Similar technical assistance was provided  
by UNDP to other sub- Saharan African countries in the process of  
amending legislation.
• UNDP has provided technical and policy support on the utilization of  
non-voluntary licenses under Article 31 of TRIPS. In partnership with  
the Intellectual Property Institute of Ecuador, UNDP held stakeholder  
consultations on compulsory licensing in Quito in March 2010. Similar  
assistance has also been provided to the government of Thailand  
through a WHO mission in 2008 in which resource persons from UNDP,  
UNCTAD and WTO participated to provide technical information with  
regard to the TRIPS Agreement.
• Again on behalf of our Joint UNAIDS Programme, UNDP has provided  
capacity development activities to assist States to implement their  
intellectual property commitments made either through the process of  
acceding to the WTO or during free trade agreement negotiations  
(FTAs)  obligations. Examples of such technical cooperation include a  
regional conference on access to essential medicines, HIV and  
intellectual property, held in Kiev in September 2009 organised by  
UNDP and the Open Society Institute.
• UNDP has supported capacity development trainings for patents  
examiners focusing on the examination of pharmaceutical patents.  
Capacity development trainings have so far been carried out in Africa,  
the Arab States and Latin America.
• In order to support our colleagues in the field in this complex  
technical area of work, UNDP, WHO and UNAIDS will be issuing in the  
coming days a joint briefing paper on the use of TRIPS flexibilities  
to improve access to HIV treatment.
• Finally, Mr Chair, UNAIDS and UNDP have also provided technical and  
policy support to recipients of Global Fund Grants in using public  
health related TRIPS Flexibilities to increase the availability of  
affordable antiretroviral medicines. The procurement policy of the  
Global Fund, dating back to 2002, calls for Global Fund beneficiaries  
to obtain quality medicines at the lowest possible price and  
encourages grantees to utilize the TRIPS flexibilities to this end.
• As donors face a period of extended financial uncertainty and  
understandably heighten their focus on accountability and value for  
money, UNAIDS expects continuing and even heightened interest in TRIPS  
flexibilities including the Paragraph 6 system.
• On behalf of my Executive Director, Mr Michel Sidibé, who is  
following your deliberations closely, we would like to reiterate our  
appreciation to this distinguished Council for its strong engagement  
in public health issues including the response to AIDS, and of course  
to the WTO Secretariat for its close and always supportive  

Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
thiru at keionline.org

Tel: +41 22 791 6727
Mobile: +41 76 508 0997

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