[Ip-health] Explanation of U.S. Position at a Meeting of the UN General Assembly on Agenda Item 13: Decade to Roll Back Malaria

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Mon Sep 17 06:11:27 PDT 2018


https://usun.state.gov/remarks/8594

Explanation of Position at a Meeting of the UN General Assembly on Agenda
Item 13: Decade to Roll Back Malaria


Ambassador Kelley Currie
U.S. Representative for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
September 10, 2018

<SNIP>

Finally, as we have stated for several consecutive years, it is not
appropriate for a UN document to speak to ongoing or future work of the
World Trade Organization, or to undermine the independent mandate and
processes of the WTO. Discussion of the amendment to Article 31 of the WTO
Agreement on OP34 is imbalanced and biased, and it is inappropriate for the
UN to call on WTO Members to take action on the issue. Therefore, as was
the case last year, the United States must disassociate from OP34, and we
insist the inclusion of this language in this resolution does not serve as
a basis for future negotiations.

We find it unfortunate that so many negotiations are stalled by the same
issues around intellectual property, which unnecessarily inflames the
discussion of serious health challenges. This year’s resolution on malaria
highlights the way some countries have chosen to pursue those other
agendas, even when they have little or no relevance to the topic at hand.
In the case of malaria, we note that for the anti-malarial medicines on
WHO's Model List of Essential Medicines, there is not a single patent in a
single country that is still in force. It therefore defies logic to assert
that intellectual property can be a barrier to access to these
anti-malarial medicines. On the other hand, intellectual property is
essential for the development of new medicines, including for the new
medicines we will need to treat malaria when resistance develops to current
regimens. The United States is therefore concerned that the threat or use
of compulsory licenses will choke the research and development that will be
needed to save lives in the future.

We request this statement be made part of the official record of the
proceedings of this meeting.


--Full statement below--


Explanation of Position at a Meeting of the UN General Assembly on Agenda
Item 13: Decade to Roll Back Malaria

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Ambassador Kelley Currie
U.S. Representative for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
September 10, 2018

AS DELIVERED

The U.S. government remains honored to be a part of the massive and
concerted global effort to end malaria and its devastating impact on
individuals and communities. Progress over the past fifteen years has
indeed been remarkable – malaria is no longer the leading cause of death in
children under five in Africa – and several countries are transitioning
their programs from focusing on controlling the disease to eliminating it.
Yet this process is fragile, and has not been, and will never be, linear.
The U.S. government recognizes that sustained support over time is
necessary. The U.S. government has committed over $6.8 billion bilaterally
for malaria control and elimination through the U.S. President’s Malaria
Initiative, PMI. In addition, approximately one-third of the United States'
$15.6 billion total commitments to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,
Tuberculosis and Malaria benefits malaria endemic country programs.

Launched in 2005 in only three countries, PMI now supports 24 programs in
malaria-endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa and three programs in the
Greater Mekong Subregion in Asia, where resistance threatens the efficacy
of antimalarial drugs.

In joining consensus in adoption of this resolution, the United States
commends the efforts and commitment of Member States resolved to eliminate
malaria and applauds their progress to date; urges Member States to sustain
their political commitment and funding; and recognizes the threats posed by
resistance to insecticides and anti-malarial drugs. We acknowledge progress
made in parts of Africa and Latin America, especially the following
countries that have most recently been certified malaria-free or are poised
to receive certification in the near future: Paraguay, El Salvador, and
Argentina. The U.S. government also acknowledges the progress made in the
South-East Asia Region of the World Health Organization, where eight of the
nine malaria-endemic countries are on target to achieve at least a
40-percent reduction in case incidence by 2020, and India is on track for a
reduction in the range of 20-40 percent.

The United States joins the resolution in recognizing the need to
strengthen malaria surveillance and data-quality, and urges the global
malaria community to use data to make evidence-based decisions. Given the
influx of data and advancements in the development of new malaria-control
products, the U.S. government stands ready to work with the WHO and other
institutions to ensure that global technical recommendations evolve at pace
with incoming data and advancements in research and development.

Regarding the right to health language contained in OP22 of this
resolution, in light of Article 2(1) of the International Covenant on
Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the United States interprets
references to the obligations of States as applicable only to the extent
they have assumed such obligations. We note that countries have a wide
array of policies and actions that may be appropriate in promoting the
progressive realization of the right to the enjoyment of the highest
attainable standard of physical and mental health.

Finally, as we have stated for several consecutive years, it is not
appropriate for a UN document to speak to ongoing or future work of the
World Trade Organization, or to undermine the independent mandate and
processes of the WTO. Discussion of the amendment to Article 31 of the WTO
Agreement on OP34 is imbalanced and biased, and it is inappropriate for the
UN to call on WTO Members to take action on the issue. Therefore, as was
the case last year, the United States must disassociate from OP34, and we
insist the inclusion of this language in this resolution does not serve as
a basis for future negotiations.

We find it unfortunate that so many negotiations are stalled by the same
issues around intellectual property, which unnecessarily inflames the
discussion of serious health challenges. This year’s resolution on malaria
highlights the way some countries have chosen to pursue those other
agendas, even when they have little or no relevance to the topic at hand.
In the case of malaria, we note that for the anti-malarial medicines on
WHO's Model List of Essential Medicines, there is not a single patent in a
single country that is still in force. It therefore defies logic to assert
that intellectual property can be a barrier to access to these
anti-malarial medicines. On the other hand, intellectual property is
essential for the development of new medicines, including for the new
medicines we will need to treat malaria when resistance develops to current
regimens. The United States is therefore concerned that the threat or use
of compulsory licenses will choke the research and development that will be
needed to save lives in the future.

We request this statement be made part of the official record of the
proceedings of this meeting.



--
Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International
41 22 791 6727
thiru at keionline.org


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