[Ip-health] 8 March 2017 - Statement of Portugal - HRC 34 - Panel on Access to Medicines

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Thu Mar 9 06:18:02 PST 2017


http://keionline.org/node/2740
8 March 2017 - Statement of Portugal - HRC 34 - Panel on Access to Medicines


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Submitted by thiru <http://keionline.org/user/6> on 9. March 2017 - 14:57

On 8 March 2017, the Permanent Representative of Portugal, Ambassador Pedro
Nuno Bártolo, made a powerful intervention at the Human Rights Council's
panel discussion on access to medicines. Portugal stressed that access to
medicines is a fundamental element of the right to health and highlighted
how the high prices of hepatitis C and cancer medicines made them
unaffordable to large segments of the population in industrialized
countries. Portugal drew the Councils' attention to a recent
"groundbreaking report adopted by an overwhelming majority" of the European
Parliament which welcomed the Report of the UN Secretary-General's
High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines (UNHLP). Portugal indicated its
commitment to discuss the follow-up and implementation of the UNHLP Report
at the WHO, WIPO, WTO, OECD, the Human Rights Council and the UN General
Assembly. In his concluding remarks, the Ambassador of Portugal posed a
pointed question to the Human Rights Council's Access to Medicines panel on
how they would advise States on promoting measures to provide transparency
on the costs of R&D for new medicines, especially in relation to the use of
public funds.

34th Session of the Human Rights Council

Panel discussion on good practices and key challenges relevant to access to
medicines

8 March 2017

Statement by Portugal

Portugal welcomes the convening of this panel and warmly congratulates
their members. Mr. Vice President, granting access to quality and
affordable medical products to all is a fundamental element for the
realization of the human right to health and of universal health coverage.
Portugal is deeply committed to the realization of this human right,
without discrimination, including by increasing access to medicines through
the adoption of a human rights-based approach.

All regions of the world face, at different levels, insufficient access to
all medical products. In recent times, the dramatic increase of prices of
new and innovative medicines made them unaffordable to large segments of
the population also in rich countries while threatening the sustainability
of health care systems. In too many countries, prices of new medicines (to
treat Hepatitis C and cancer, for instance) are particularly shocking.

The OECD itself acknowledged recently that Governments need to further work
with the industry and regulators, to ensure that the development and use of
new health technologies is accompanied by the delivery of more affordable
and value for money treatments.

And last week, the European Parliament, in a groundbreaking report adopted
by an overwhelming majority, welcomed the report of the High-Level Panel
and called on the European Union institutions and on Member States to take
steps to implement the recommendations therein. Portugal for its part is
ready to discuss the follow-up and implementation of those recommendations
with all stakeholders in all relevant fora, including the WHO, WIPO, WTO,
OECD, the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly.

Access to medicines is a human rights issue as well as a public health
issue. We need to work together in order to ensure policy consistency
between all relevant interests at stake, so that we will leave no one
behind. Those interests are not necessarily contradictory and must be
pursued jointly and in a balanced manner. We welcome the contribution
provided in this regard by the High-Level Panel Report. To quote the UN
Secretary-General himself, this report is a "milestone in our ongoing
dialogue and our quest for sustainable solutions".

We also welcome in this context the entry into force of the protocol
amending the WTO TRIPS Agreement.

I'd like to ask the panelists how they would advise States to pursue more
transparency in the determination of costs of research & development for
new medicines (in particular a better traceability of the public funds used
in this regard, in order to better reflect actual costs in the final price
of the medicines).

Thank you



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