[Ip-health] WHO Launch: Global report on access to hepatitis C treatment. Focus on overcoming barriers

BAGOZZI, Daniela bagozzid at who.int
Fri Oct 28 05:21:44 PDT 2016


Dear German,
 
WHO’s mandate is to promote access to affordable quality medicines universally. For hepatitis C specifically, there are a number of avenues countries have used to expand treatment access, as shown in the report launched yesterday. These include voluntary license agreements that allow more than 100 countries to procure from a range of generic providers, patent oppositions filed by civil society, and the non-filing or granting of patents allowing for local production. Egypt, for example, has driven down prices to around US$ 170 for a three-month course of DAAs using local production as an option. We provided Egypt with technical assistance on how to expand treatment for hepatitis C for more than three years, including on IP related issues. Other countries that are not included in the license agreements have to use other strategies.  Most high-income countries use various forms of price control with mitigated success, as shown in the study. Some middle-income countries such as Brazil have opted for price negotiations. Using TRIPS flexibilities is indeed another option which is described in more detail in the report. 
As you rightly point out, WHO’s mandate includes providing countries, upon request, with advice on how to implement and use TRIPS flexibilities to foster access to medicines. The question is not when WHO will begin implementing this mandate as we have been doing so actively for some years. Here are three recent examples:
1.       In May 2016, at the request of the Ministry of Health of Colombia, WHO provided advice on the government’s plan to use TRIPS flexibilities to make cancer treatment more affordable, see here: http://keionline.org/node/2580
2)    WHO supported the government of Ethiopia in developing and implementing their National strategy and plan of action for pharmaceutical manufacturing development (2015–2025), including on the use of the WTO/TRIPS transition period for LDCs.
3)    At the request of the South African government, WHO in September 2016 provided advice on the reform of the South African intellectual property regime, in particular on how to implement TRIPS flexibilities to expand access to medicines.
Over the past years, we have organized and participated in numerous training events that also cover guidance on using TRIPS flexibilities for the benefit of public health, see the WHO annual activity reports for this area: http://www.who.int/phi/wto_communications/en/
 
Thank you for your continued interest – the team here would be very happy to meet with you personally and discuss this area of work in more detail.
Best wishes,
Daniela
 
___________________________________
Daniela Bagozzi
Senior Information/Communication Manager
WHO/Essential Medicines and Health Products
E-mail: bagozzid at who.int
Tel. +41 22 791 19 90
Mob. +41 79 60 37 281 
http://www.who.int/medicines/en/
 
 
-----Original Message-----
From: Ip-health [mailto:ip-health-bounces at lists.keionline.org] On Behalf Of German Velasquez
Sent: 28 October 2016 13:06
To: Ip-health
Subject: [Ip-health] WHO Launch: Global report on access to hepatitis C treatment. Focus on overcoming barriers
 
Dear Daniella good news. It is important that WHO  play a role, as many other partners at national and international level, are contributing  with advocacy and access strategies.  I know that WHO does not fund pharmaceutical products. Let me please now raise the question of WHO role on the promotion and assistance to countries in the use of TRIPS flexibilities, as mandated by several WHA resolutions.
 
As stated by Professor Joseph M. Fortunak,  Hep C treatments are a cure.
The 12-24 weeks of treatment at the current unpayable prices to the vast majority of countries (developed and developing) will made impossible to eliminate the disease. Will WHO now begin aggressively to promote and  support countries on the use of TRIPS flexibilities and in particular the reinforcement of the criteria of patentability, the grant of Compulsory Licences and the parallel importation?
 
best regards
 
German Velasquez
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