[Ip-health] Health GAP Statement on UN HLP Access to Medicines Final Report

Hilary McQuie hilary at healthgap.org
Wed Sep 14 08:37:00 PDT 2016


Health GAP’s statement on the Final Report of the High Level Panel on
Access to Medicines: http://www.healthgap.org/hlpreport

Please share widely!


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*Contact:*  Prof. Brook K. Baker, 617-373-3217, b.baker at northeastern.edu

                 Matt Kavanagh, 1 202-486-2488, matthew at healthgap.org


*Health GAP Statement on the Final Report of the UN Secretary-General’s
High Level Panel on Access to Medicines*

(Sept. 14, 2016) The High Level Panel’s (HLP) Final Report correctly
identifies a high degree of policy incoherence between the interests of
inventors – protected by national and international intellectual property
law and trade agreements – and supervening rights to individual and public
health.

We applaud the Panel’s most proactive recommendation, which calls for the
negotiation of a binding international medical research and development
(R&D) convention that would increase and coordinate governments’
investments in R&D and delink the costs of R&D from end prices. A policy of
this nature would go a long way toward promoting access to life saving
medicines.

We’re also pleased that the Panel concludes that countries “must” adopt
TRIPS flexibilities, including high standards of patentability and
easier-to-use compulsory license mechanisms, and that “governments and the
private sector must refrain from explicit or implicit threats, tactics or
strategies that undermine the right of World Trade Organization (WTO)
Members to use Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
(TRIPS) flexibilities.”

However, the Panel’s Report falls short by failing to unequivocally condemn
trade agreements and national laws with TRIPS-plus IP protection and
enforcement mechanisms and by not calling for revision of any trade
agreements and laws that are TRIPS-plus or undermine TRIPS flexibilities.
Similarly, at the last minute, a minority of HLP Members rejected a
recommendation advanced by Health GAP and other proponents and the majority
of panel members for near automatic issuance of compulsory licenses on
essential health technologies. These licenses would allow generic producers
to manufacture and market generic equivalents premised on payment of
adequate remuneration, typically percentage royalties, to patent
rightholders.

Unfortunately, while the Panel’s report also recommends specific progress
on transparency and more open access to the fruits of university and
publicly supported research, the Panel was unable to reach consensus on
bold recommendations concerning the limits of the WTO’s Agreement on TRIPS
framework to protect access to medicines. Instead, the Panel opined that
the right of access to medicines and other health technologies could be
resolved within the existing framework of TRIPS flexibilities – a premise
that we strongly reject.

Failing to fully rise to the challenge of redressing unmet health needs,
the Panel’s Final Report over-valorizes industry’s voluntary measures and
urges countries to adopt flexibilities that partially tame but do not
defang monopolies on medicines.  More far reaching proposals by Health GAP
and partners called for dismantling the existing intellectual property
regime on medicines and other health technologies and adopting new
incentive systems for targeted research and development while guaranteeing
more affordable access generics sold at or near the cost of production.
Regrettably, we will be left with a complex web of exclusive rights that
strains public and private resources and that risks continued rationing and
even denial of access to life-saving technologies.

That said, we must urge the UN and countries to act quickly to advance the
modest reform proposals contained in the Final Report as they continue to
explore even more transformative interventions in the future, many of which
were contained in submissions to the HLP.

*Context:*

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon convened a High Level Panel on
Access to Medicines in November of 2015 to examine the problem of
insufficient medical innovation for neglected diseases and other medical
conditions compounded by the problem of inequitable and unaffordable access
to existing medicines and other medical technologies.

Health GAP <http://www.healthgap.org/> (Global Access Project) works to
ensure that all people living with HIV around the world have access to
affordable life-saving medicines they need. We worked together with
Professor Yousuf Vawda, University of KwaZulu Natal, Faculty of Law; Marcus
Low, Treatment Access Campaign S.A.; Morgane Ahmare, Coalition-Plus;
Saoirse Fitzpatrick, Stop AIDS and Health Poverty Action; Alienor
Devaliere, Health Action International; Nuria Homedes, Salud y Farmacos
USA; Andrea Carolina Reyes Rojas, Mision Salud Columbia; Maria Lorena Di
Giano, Fundicion Grupo Efecto Positivo – Argentina and Red Latinoamericana
por el Acceso a Medicamentos (RedLAM); Ludice Lopez Tocon, Health Action
International LAC; Luz Marina Umbasia B., Fundacion IFARMA; Marcela Vieira,
Assocciacao Brazileira Interdisciplinar de AIDS on an *IP Reform Submission*
and with Peter Maybarduk, Public Citizen; Amy Kapcyzynski & Gregg
Gonsalves, Global Health Justice Partnership; Morgane Ahmar,
Coalition-Plus; Marcus Low, Treatment Action Campaign; Prof. Sean Flynn;
Luz Marina & Francisco Rossi Fundación IFARMA on *Compulsory Licensing
Facility/Consortium Submission* during the consultation phase of the High
Level Panel on Access to Medicines.

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Hilary McQuie
Director of US Government Policy and Grassroots Mobilization
Health GAP (Global Access Project)
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