[A2k] UN Rapporteur for the Right to Health asked to intervene in the TPP negotiation

Krista Cox krista.cox at keionline.org
Tue Mar 22 07:29:09 PDT 2011


Source: http://keionline.org/node/1099

UN Rapporteur for the Right to Health asked to intervene in the TPP
negotiation

By KEI Staff
22 Mar 2011

The following groups and individuals have written to Anand Grover, the
Special Rapporteur for the United Nations on the right of everyone to the
enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, to lodge a complaint
about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is a regional free trade
agreement being negotiated by the governments of Brunei, Chile, New Zealand,
Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Peru, Vietnam and the United States.

The basis for the appeal is described in the attached memorandum [1].

The complaint was filed by the following organizations and individuals:

* James Love, Thiru Balasubramaniam, Krista Cox and Manon Ress on behalf of
Knowledge Ecology International
* Edward Low on behalf of the Positive Malaysian Treatment Access & Advocacy
Group (MTAAG+)
* German Holguin Zamorano on behalf of Latin American and
Caribbean(LAC)-Global Alliance for Access to Medicines
* Roberto Lopez on behalf of Acción Internacional por la Salud (HAI) Peru
* Dr Patricia Ranald on behalf of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment
Network
* Jose Teran on behalf of Acción Internacional por la Salud (HAI) Ecuador
* Francisco Rossi on behalf of IFARMA Foundation - Colombia
* German Holguin Zamorano on behalf of Mision Salud, Colombia
* Alejandra Alayza on behalf of Peruvian Network for Fair Globalisation -
RedGE
* Health Action International (HAI) Europe
* Acción Internacional por la Salud (HAI) Latin America and the Caribbean
* Alberto Cerda Silva, Professor of Law, University of Chile Law School
* Allen Black Jr., Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh
* Jane Kelsey, Professor of Law, University of Auckland

A press release about the filing follows:

UN Special Raporteur on right to health asked to intervene in TPP Trade
negotiation

March 22, 2010

FMI (See contact details below)

March 21, 2011. Eleven public interest advocacy groups and three law
professors have submitted a petition to Anand Grover, the Special Rapporteur
for the United Nations on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the
highest attainable standard of health. A copy of the petition is available
on the Internet here: http://www.keionline.org/node/1099 [2]

The Special Rapporteur has been asked to intervene in a new regional trade
agreement named the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. In
particular, the parties filing the complaint charge that the negotiations on
intellectual property norms, in terms of process and substance, threaten and
violate the right of hundreds of millions of persons to the enjoyment of the
highest attainable standard of health.

Parties to the negotiation now include the governments of Brunei, Chile, New
Zealand, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Peru, Vietnam and the United
States. However, it is expected that attempts will be made to extend the
norms to a much wider group of trading partners. Moreover, given economies
of scale, any agreement that shrinks the market for legal generic medicines
will have an adverse impact on consumers everywhere.

The TPP agreement, is being negotiated behind a veil of secrecy, underming
the ability for the persons who will be affected by the norms to participate
effectively in efforts to influence the outcome of the negotiations. The
lack of access to information is not universal, however, as some corporate
interests have special access to information about the negotiations that is
not available to the general public.

A recent leak of a copy of the United States government's proposal for a
chapter on intellectual property rights has revealed the negotiation is
addressing the most sensitive issues in the area of access to medicine,
including such items as the standards for granting patents on medical
inventions, patent extensions, the exclusive rights in regulatory test data,
restrictions on the “in-transit” shipments of legitimate generic drugs, and
other topics.

The Commission on Human Rights resolution 2002/31 provides the Special
Rapporteur for the right to health the mandate to issue an urgent appeal or
allegation letter to Governments based on reliable information on alleged
violations of the right to health. The Special Rapporteur can write to the
Government(s) concerned, "either together with other special procedure
mandates or independently, inviting comment on the allegation(s), seeking
clarifications, reminding a Government of its obligations under
international law in relation to the right to health, and requesting
information, where relevant, on steps being taken by the authorities to
redress the situation in question."

Communications from the Special Rapporteur to the concerned Government(s),
either in the form of an Urgent appeal or an allegation letter are
confidential at an initial stage. Once the summary of letters and the
response of the of the concerned Government(s) are enclosed into addendum 1
of the Human Rights Council's annual report, then this information becomes
public.

The organizations and individuals signing the petition include:

* James Love, Thiru Balasubramaniam, Krista Cox and Manon Ress on behalf of
Knowledge Ecology International
* Edward Low on behalf of the Positive Malaysian Treatment Access & Advocacy
Group (MTAAG+)
* German Holguin Zamorano on behalf of Latin American and
Caribbean(LAC)-Global Alliance for Access to Medicines
* Roberto Lopez on behalf of Acción Internacional por la Salud (HAI) Peru
* Dr Patricia Ranald on behalf of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment
Network
* Jose Teran on behalf of Acción Internacional por la Salud (HAI) Ecuador
* Francisco Rossi on behalf of IFARMA Foundation - Colombia
* German Holguin Zamorano on behalf of Mision Salud, Colombia
* Alejandra Alayza on behalf of Peruvian Network for Fair Globalisation -
RedGE
* Health Action International (HAI) Europe
* Acción Internacional por la Salud (HAI) Latin America and the Caribbean
* Alberto Cerda Silva, Professor of Law, University of Chile Law School
* Allen Black Jr., Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh
* Jane Kelsey, Professor of Law, University of Auckland

The following are quotes from some of the persons signing the petition,
listed in alphabetical order.

Allen Black, Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh “It is the
duty of the Government to protect health and human safety. However, the
currently proposed trade agreement simply ignores health and human safety.
Worse if implemented, it will actually deny life saving medicines to those
most in need. It is unconscionable that the U.S. would ever promote such an
agreement because it sacrifices lives without any benefit other than
increased revenues for U.S. corporations.”

Alberto Cerda Silva, Professor in Law, University of Chile Law School “The
TPP compromises public health, particularly in developing countries, by
requiring the adoption of measures that create serious obstacles for access
to medicines, such as restrictions on the shipment of generic goods in
transit to developing countries, patents for new uses of older drugs, and
the linkage of patents to drug registration in markets where regulators are
not well equipped to evaluate patent claims. The TPP draft goes beyond any
Free Trade Agreement in force; in fact, countries like Australia, Chile, New
Zealand and Peru would be required to re-update its domestic law to comply
with the obligations imposed by the American draft of the TPP.”

Edward Low, Positive Malaysian Treatment Access & Advocacy Group (MTAAG+)
“HIV patients in Malaysia used to be on Duovir, a generic antiretroviral
drug imported from India under a compulsory license. However, the
government's switchback to the branded Combivir increased the government's
treatment cost 6 fold and impeded the antiretroviral roll out plan. Thus, we
have first hand knowledge of the curtailing of TRIPS flexibilities as it is
a matter of life and death for the HIV community. The TPP aims to impose
patent linkage to drug registration, data exclusivity and undermine
Malaysia's sovereign right to determine patentability criteria. The net
result of the TPP will result in more unaffordable drugs just waiting for
the poor at the grave.”

James Love, Director, Knowledge Ecology International.. “The text the United
States has already tabled in the TPP negotiation is an aggressive attack on
the modest flexibilities that developing countries now have to protect the
poor. But the many placeholders suggest the worst is yet to come. USTR is
telling groups that it plans to abandon the May 10, 2007 compromise on
access to medicine – an agreement between Democrats in the House of
Representatives and the George W. Bush White House. The Obama Administration
is showing that it is no friend to poor people living in developing
countries. The Obama Administration is also trying to lock into a global
agreement the most anti-consumer aspects of US law, making it much more
difficult or impossible to introduce needed reforms to protect US consumers.
The notion that governments have to act to control health care costs is
undermined by the White House policy proposals in the TPP.”

Krista Cox, Staff Attorney, Knowledge Ecology International. “The manner in
which the Trans Pacific Partnership has been negotiated erodes the human
rights to access to information and participation in public affairs. The
secrecy of these negotiations effectively works against the interests of
marginalized groups, such as women children, and those living in extreme
poverty, who will be greatly affected by enactment of the TPP. The TPP
violates human rights, particularly the right to health. While States have a
positive obligation to protect this right, in part by promoting better
access to medicines and medical treatment, the United States has done the
opposite by placing economic policy and intellectual property interests
above the basic human rights to life and health.”

Roberto Lopez, Acción Internacional por la Salud (HAI) Peru. “The TPP would
enact TRIPS plus norms that would compromise Peruvians' right to health. The
prohibition on pre-grant opposition and the proposed granting of new use
patents undermines Peruvian policy space in taking measures to protect
public health and promote access to medicines.”

Thiru Balasubramaniam, Geneva Representative, Knowledge Ecology
International. “The intellectual property rights chapter as proposed by the
United States imposes a one-size fits all straightjacket which vitiates the
discretion afforded to WTO members in the TRIPS Agreement, and re-affirmed
in the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, the WHO
Global Strategy on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property. The
TPP text would prohibit pre-grant opposition procedures for patents while
mandating the granting of new uses for older drugs for developing countries
including Peru, Malaysia and Vietnam. As noted in the March 15, 2011
UNAIDS/WHO/UNDP Policy brief on Using TRIPS flexibilities to improve access
to HIV treatment: 'The decision on whether a new form of a known substance
can be patented has major implications for many drugs used in HIV care, now
and in the future.'”

Fore more information, please contact:

Krista Cox, krista.cox at keionline.org, +1.202.332.2670

Thiru Balasubramaniam, thiru at keionline.org, +41.76.508.0997


WASHINGTON 1621 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20009 /TEL:
+1.202.332.2670 · FAX +1.202.332.2673 GENEVE 1 Route des Morillons, CP 2100,
1211 Genève 2, Switzerland TEL: +41.22.791.6727

Source URL: http://keionline.org/node/1099

Links:
[1]
http://keionline.org/sites/default/files/r2h_anand_grover_tpp_22march2011.pdf
[2] http://www.keionline.org/node/1099


-- 
Krista Cox
Staff Attorney
Knowledge Ecology International
www.keionline.org



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