[Ip-health] 1 March 2017 - WTO TRIPS Council - India's intervention on the Report of the UN High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Thu Mar 2 23:04:52 PST 2017


http://keionline.org/node/2731
1 March 2017 - WTO TRIPS Council - India's intervention on the Report of
the UN High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines


   -

Submitted by thiru <http://keionline.org/user/6> on 3. March 2017 - 8:57

On 1 March 2017, India delivered the following statement during WTO TRIPS
Council discussions on the United Nations Secretary-General’s High Level
Panel Report on Access to Medicines.

Agenda item 12: the United Nations Secretary-General’s High Level Panel
Report on Access to Medicines

Thank you Chairman.

At the outset, I would like to thank delegations of Brazil, China and South
Africa who are also co-sponsors of this agenda item.

Mr. Chairman, in November of 2015, the United Nations Secretary-General,
Mr. Ban Ki-moon, convened a High-Level Panel (HLP) on Access to Medicines
with an objective “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.” The United Nations Secretary-General’s
High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines released its Final Report on 14
September 2016.

The HLP report referred to Sustainable Development Goal 3: “ Ensure healthy
lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” and reiterated that the
State obligations include duties not only to respect, but to protect and
fulfil the right to health.

The HLP report highlighted that neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) continue
to receive inadequate funding for R & D and access to health technologies,
despite more than a billion people living with one or more NTD. The HLP
report also recognized that the costs of health technologies are rising
globally and are being felt by individuals and by public and private
insurance schemes in both wealthy and resource-constrained countries alike.
In this context, it is pertinent to mention that recently, President of a
developed Member stated that pharmaceutical companies are "getting away
with murder" in what they charge the government for medicines. To address
this issue, the Panel report recommended that Governments should require
manufacturers and distributors of health technologies to disclose to drug
regulatory and procurement authorities information pertaining to : (1) the
costs of R &D, production, marketing and distribution of health technology
being procured or given marketing approval with each expense category
separated; and (2) any public funding received in the development of the
health technology, including tax credits, subsidies and grants.

On Innovation, the HLP report stated that IPRs are “ one policy tool among
many for encouraging innovation and technological research and
development”. The Panel report emphasized that limiting access to academic
discoveries can obstruct follow-on innovation and force taxpayers to pay
twice for the benefits of publicity-funded research. The Panel report
advocated for strong, enforceable policies on data sharing and data access
should be a condition for public grants. The Panel report also underscored
that public funding agencies should strongly encourage patenting and
licensing practices that benefit public health, including use of
non-exclusive licences, the donation of intellectual property rights,
participation in public sector patent pools and other mechanisms that
maximise innovation while promoting access. The panel report recommended
that open access models of innovation can also lower entry hurdles and
accelerate the pace of development of health technologies, including those
needed to combat emerging infectious diseases.

Mr. Chairman, in furtherance of the objectives and Principles of TRIPS
enshrined in Articles 7 & 8, a number of flexibilities have become an
integral part of the TRIPS framework. These flexibilities have been
clarified and enhanced by the 2001 Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public
Health that WTO members have the flexibility to interpret and implement the
TRIPS provisions in a manner supportive of their right to protect public
health.

Mr. Chairman, the HLP report recommended that WTO Members must make full
use of the flexibilities in the TRIPS Agreement as confirmed by the Doha
Declaration to promote access to health technologies when necessary. Some
key recommendations of the Panel report, especially on TRIPS flexibilities
and TRIPS-plus provisions, are the following:

a) 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 awarded when genuine innovation has occurred.

b) 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.

c) WTO Members should revise the paragraph 6 decision in order to find a
solution that enables a swift and expedient export of pharmaceutical
products produced under compulsory license.

d) 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.

e) Governments engaged in bilateral and regional trade and investment
treaties should ensure that these agreements do not include provisions that
interfere with their obligations to fulfill the right to health.

At the side-event held today during the lunch-break, we have also heard
from the co-chair Ms.Ruth Dreifuss, former President of Switzerland and
other experts regarding proper implementation of the recommendations of the
HLP report 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.

Mr, Chairman, at the last TRIPS Council meeting many Members stated that
the HLP report was still under consideration in their Capitals. I would
like to urge those Members to provide their comments on the HLP report. At
the subsequent sessions of the TRIPS Council, India would like to
co-sponsor with like-minded Members sub-agenda items under the main agenda
item “the United Nations Secretary-General’s High Level Panel Report on
Access to Medicines”. Some sub-agenda items on which Members could share
their experiences include specific recommendations of the HLP report like
Patentability Criteria, Compulsory Licenses, TRIPS-plus provisions in RTAs,
etc.,

Thank you Chair.



More information about the Ip-health mailing list