[Ip-health] Fwd: TWN Info: US business launches campaign against UNHLP
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Tue Apr 5 23:10:52 PDT 2016
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From: TWN News <news at twnnews.net>
Date: Wed, Apr 6, 2016 at 10:26 AM
Subject: TWN Info: US business launches campaign against UNHLP
To: TWN Mailing List <news at twnnews.net>
*Title :* TWN Info: US business launches campaign against UNHLP
*Date :* 06 April 2016
TWN Info Service on IP,Trade,Health and Climate Change Issues
6 April 2016
Third World Network
*US business launches campaign against UNHLP Published in SUNS #8215 dated
6 April 2016*
Geneva, 5 Apr (D. Ravi Kanth) -- After scuttling globally-beneficial
obligations for sharing the latest technologies to combat climate change in
the recent Paris agreement, the powerful US industry and business lobbies
have now launched another major campaign to undermine the United Nations
High Level Panel on Access to Medicines (UNHLP), according to a letter
accessed by the SUNS.
In a letter addressed to Senator Orrin Hatch, the chair for the US Senate
Committee on Finance, a fortnight ago, six leading American industry and
business lobbies demanded an "effective inter-agency approach" which was
adopted by the US delegation in the Paris climate talks to other UN
initiatives, particularly the UN High Level Panel on Access to Medicines.
The UNHLP was formed by the UN Development Program (UNDP) in November 2015.
The six American lobbies include the Biotechnology Innovation Organization
(BIO), National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), National Foreign Trade
Council (NFTC), the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of
America (PhRMA), the US Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber), and the United
States Council for International Business (USCIB).
They cited the "effective inter-agency approach" under the leadership of
the US State Department to "secure a final UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention
on Climate Change) text that does not mention IP (intellectual property)
and thus removes uncertainty that could have discouraged investments by the
US companies in clean technology."
Under the dubious argument of safeguarding innovation and "maintaining the
ability of US innovators to develop and disseminate solutions to society's
great challenges," which is a euphemism for ensuring the most burdensome
and onerous intellectual property commitments, the US lobbies maintained
that "significant challenges to IP still remain in the Paris Agreement's
implementation and subsequent negotiations - especially those related to
the technology development and transfer chapter."
In the face of proliferating challenges to the IP protection within the UN
system, the American lobbies want the administration to continue to adopt
the inter-agency approach to jettison the UN High Level Panel on Access to
The UNHLP is tasked to "remedy the policy incoherence between justifiable
rights of inventors, international human rights law, trade rules and public
health in the context of health technologies."
Coming at a time when the disease burden is multiplying in developing and
poorest countries, which are unable to combat the most deadly
cancer-related and other diseases because of the IP provisions, the UNHLP
has its task cut out.
It is jointly chaired by the former Swiss President Ms Ruth Dreifuss and
the former President of Botswana Mr Fetus Gontebanye Mogae.
Ms Dreifuss is respected all over the world for her sustained campaign
against Novartis which refused to accept India's first compulsory licence
for Glivec cancer drug on public health grounds. Mr Mogae provided the
leadership in tackling the HIV problem by ensuring anti-retroviral
treatment to its citizens in Botswana.
Along with these two eminent chairs, the UNHLP also includes several panel
members drawn from the government, industry, public health institutions,
and non-governmental groups.
The members include Mr Andrew Witty, the former chief executive officer of
GlaxoSmithKline, Ms Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, a development economist, Mr Awn
Al-Khasawneh, the former prime minister of Jordan, Mr Celso Amorim, the
former foreign minister of Brazil, Ms Winnie Byanyima, the executive
director of Oxfam, Mr Shiba Phurailatpam, a living HIV patient and
activist, Ms Malebona Precious Matsoso, the director-general in the Health
Department of the Government of South Africa, Mr Yusuf Hamied, the
executive chairman of the leading generic drug company Cipla, Mr Michael
Kiry, a retired Australian judge, Ms Ruth Okediji, a law professor at
Minnesota University Law School, Mr Gorge Bermudez, a former head of
UNITAID, Ms Kinga Goncz, a law professor from Hungary, Ms Maria C. Freire,
the executive director of the US Foundation for the National Institutes of
Health, and Mr Stephen Lewis, an official of the advocacy organization
The American business lobbies are on a warpath because the panel includes a
range of people with different backgrounds and experiences and it might
adopt a genuine inquiry into the policy incoherence that is responsible for
denying humanitarian remedies.
"We are concerned, however, that the UNHLP process will not provide for an
informed, balanced, and inclusive dialogue that adequately incorporates the
perspectives of innovators," the six US business lobbies claimed.
Casting aspersions on the selection process of the panel, the business
lobbies raised vicious charges that the panel will not be able to assess
"the complex issues impacting the development and deployment of
"Based on the lack of balance evident in the background and views of Panel
and advisory group members, as well as the lack of important context about
the value of intellectual property in the Panel's supporting documents, it
is unfortunately likely that the result of this process, while perhaps
well-intentioned, will be ill-informed," the US business lobbies vehemently
The American lobbies also downgraded work done by the World Health
Organization, the UN specialized agency on health, with its Framework for
Engagement with Non-State Actors (FENSA) as well as in the UN's global
Technology Facilitation Mechanism.
In short, "inter-governmental organizations that are discriminatory towards
business, or that focus on a limited range of factors potentially
inhibiting innovation deployment, undermine evidence-based policy-making
and hobble the delivery of solutions to healthcare and other sustainability
challenges," the US business lobbies claimed.
The continued crusade against "inter-governmental organizations" by the US
lobbies is not something new.
Whenever any panel is formed at an inter-governmental organization, the US
business lobbies go into the overkill to ensure that the panel members are
tainted if they adopt genuinely people-, development-centered positions.
Time and time again the American negotiators ensured that their
heavily-subsidized innovators continued to reap monopoly profits at the
cost of worsening global epidemics and climate change problems.
The US administration also adopted similar tactics in the global trade
negotiations in which it has aggressively ensured that the developmental
concerns of the developing countries are trumped by the concerns of their
egregiously subsidized farm groups.
The US led the efforts to try to dismantle the Doha Development Agenda
(DDA) trade negotiations in Nairobi over three months ago. It is an open
secret that the DDA negotiations stood in the way of Washington's pursuit
of perpetuating inequities and distortions stemming from the previous
Uruguay Round of trade negotiations.
Unless the developing and poorest countries adopt common positions to
secure credible and developmental outcomes for addressing global
challenges, they will continue to face defeat after defeat in crafting
major international agreements. Invariably, it is a battle between the
profits-centered American positions on the one side, and life-and-death
survival concerns of poor countries on the other, according to several
developing country envoys. +
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