[Ip-health] 9 November 2016 - WTO TRIPS Council - Brazil's intervention on the Report of the UN High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Wed Nov 9 19:50:40 PST 2016


9 November 2016 - WTO TRIPS Council - Brazil's intervention on the Report
of the UN High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines


Submitted by thiru <http://keionline.org/user/6> on 9. November 2016 - 23:16

On 9 November 2016, the World Trade Organization's (WTO) TRIPS Council held
discussions on the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel
Report on Access to Medicines (UN HLP). These timely WTO discussions on the
UN HLP germinated from a 27 October 2016 request
<http://keionline.org/node/2654> by Brazil, China, India and South Africa
requesting the WTO Secretariat to place a dedicated agenda item for
consideration at the 8-9 November 2016 session of the TRIPS Council
entitled “the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel Report on
Access to Medicines.”

According to informed sources, 15 WTO members (including Brazil, China,
India, South Africa, the European Union, Japan, Switzerland and the United
States of America) and 5 intergovernmental organizations (including WTO,
the World Health Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade
and Development) delivered statements on the UN HLP report. During the
deliberations, according to informed sources, the TRIPS Council agreed to
continue discussions on the UN HLP at the first meeting of the TRIPS
Council in 2017.

Contained below is the text of Brazil's intervention on the UN HLP.


Thank you Chair,

Brazil is pleased to be a co-sponsor, alongside China, India and South
Africa of the agenda item on the United Nations Secretary General's High
Level Panel report on access to medicines.

Mr. Chair,

The High Level Panel on access to Medicines was established to implement
one of the recommendations of the Global Commission on the HIV and the law.
This Commission, as many will remember, was comprised of eminent
authorities and chaired by former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique

On 19 November 2015, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced
the creation of the High-Level Panel on Innovation and Access to Health
Technologies. In outlining its mandate, the Secretary General guided the
panelists to “review and assess proposals and recommend solutions for
remedying the policy incoherence between the justifiable rights of
inventors, international human rights law, trade rules and public health in
the context of health technologies.”

This new High Level Panel was co-chaired by the former President of the
Swiss Confederation, Ruth Dreifuss, and by the former President of
Botswana, Festus Mogae. Its final report was released last September. Among
its recommendations, some are directly related to the TRIPS Agreement. One
of these calls for WTO members to commit, at the highest political levels,
to respect the letter and the spirit of the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and
Public Health, refraining from any action that will limit their
implementation and use in order to promote access to health technologies.
More specifically, it recommends:

1. WTO Members should make full use of the policy space available in
Article 27 of the TRIPS Agreement by adopting and applying rigorous
definitions of invention and patentability that curtail the evergreening to
ensure that patents are only awarded when genuine innovation has occurred.

2. Enhanced cooperation among the United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the
World Health Organization (WHO), the World Intellectual Property
Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) and with other
relevant bodies with the requisite expertise to support governments to
apply public health-sensitive patentability criteria.

3. It also recommends these multilateral organizations to strengthen the
capacity of patent examiners at both national and regional levels to apply
rigorous public health sensitive standards of patentability taking into
account public health needs.

4. Governments should adopt and implement legislation that facilitates the
issuance of compulsory licenses. Such legislation must be designed to
effectuate quick, fair, predictable and implementable compulsory licenses
for legitimate public health needs, and particularly with regards to
essential medicines. The use of compulsory licensing must be based on the
provisions found in the Doha Declaration and the grounds for the issuance
of compulsory licenses left to the discretion of governments.

5. Governments and the private sector must refrain from explicit or
implicit threats, tactics or strategies that undermine the right of WTO
Members to use TRIPS flexibilities.

Mr. Chair,

Brazil has a strong commitment to the improvement of public health in our
country and in our region. To increase the bargaining power of governments
in the acquisition of essential medicines, Brazil and other countries have
established, in 2015, a regional system of procurement for these life
saving goods. This arrangement, with the participation of most South
American countries, is one sort of innovative mechanism aimed at helping
countries to cope with high prices of pharmaceuticals.

Engaging in the discussion of recommendations by the High Level Panel might
allow members to consider different aspects of the relationship between
access to medicines and the Patent System. Brazil is convinced that a
balanced and effective IP system would go a long way toward facilitating
access to essential medicines without in any way infringing on market

Mr. Chair,

We all know access to medicines is a challenge for most countries, whether
least developed, developing or developed. We present these views in a
spirit of dialogue, convinced that they are in the interest of everyone,
without exception, and encourage the whole Membership to work
constructively towards achieving the goal of universal access to medicines.

Brazil understands it is important for the TRIPS Council to pay due
attention to the issues and recommendations raised by the UN Secretary
General’s High Level Panel. We would be most interested in the continuation
of the discussion in the next TRIPS Council Session.

Thank you.

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