[Ip-health] Open letter from CS delegates on UNITAID Board, re: Medicines Patent Pool
JHamer at oxfam.org.uk
Wed Aug 10 03:18:41 PDT 2011
An open letter from CS delegates on UNITAID board
The UNITAID Communities and NGO Board delegations are fully aware of the
public debate around the first licence between Gilead and the Medicines
Patent Pool (MPP), and both its value and shortcomings. We are also aware
of the importance as well as the limitations of the MPP. We wish to
acknowledge the concerns that have been raised. As constituency delegates
to the board, we would like to share our key strategies on access to HIV
medicines. We see these as reflected in the following:
The MPP represents one important strategy in making ARVs available and
affordable for people who need them in developing countries. Therefore we
will continue lobbying Pharmaceutical companies to join the pool.
We, as Civil Society delegates, are committed to universal access for all
people living with HIV, and will continue to push for wider inclusion of
developing countries in this and future licence agreements. The terms of
the licences are important, and civil society needs to have a strategy to
influence those terms. Part of this strategy involves putting pressure on
the MPP itself, but it also must include putting great pressure on
companies. The strategy also includes advocacy for developing countries to
put pressure on companies, to expand the geographic scope and make other
pro- competition changes. The MPP is not by itself able to deliver every
concession from the companies that we all want.
We shall, as representatives of individual organisations, members of
affected communities, and as Board members, continue advocating for
developing country governments to use all possible TRIPS flexibilities and
safeguards to ensure access to medicines, especially for HIV, in their
countries. We will also continue to lobby rich countries, especially the
US/EC, to stop pressuring developing countries to refrain from using these
We shall similarly continue our lobby and campaign against TRIPS Plus in
FTA and investment agreements, especially EU-India, Mercosur, ACTA, EPAs,
the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and upcoming Thailand, Philippines,
and Vietnam trade agreements.
We will continue to lobby donor governments to fully fund the Global Fund
in order to deliver HIV, TB, malaria programmes, and to fund UNITAID, in
order to scale up its market interventions, to make medicines, diagnostics
and other health products available and affordable, to all who need them
in developing countries.
We stress that the MPP mandate derives from its relationship with UNITAID.
CS (both Communities living with the diseases and NGOs) as well as some
key governments from the South have been part of the decision making and
shaping of the Pool. As activists on the UNITAID Board, we have a powerful
interest in seeing that the terms of the MPP licences are improved.
We also recognise that the transparency of the Gilead licence - the first
voluntary licence to be made fully publicly available- has raised a
variety of comments and questions. There needs to be further discussion
with people living with HIV and NGOs to set out what it will take to get
better terms in licensing, whilst enabling the MPP to proceed in licensing
negotiations. We support the notion that the Gilead license must not
represent a ceiling, and that more must be done to improve it.
Therefore we support the idea of a meeting between MPP, CS and those
directly affected by the licences, in low and middle income countries.
There are various options for this meeting, including whether ITPC would
want to select a chair and/or organize, whether UNITAID organize it or
whether other options for funding or organizing the meeting should be
Finally, we welcome input from all affected communities and NGOs, into our
positions and work as Board members at UNITAID, including on the Medicines
Patent Pool. We invite you to join our Contact Group or Advisory Group if
you are interested in providing input into our work at UNITAID Board level
(please do contact jhamer at oxfam.org.uk if interested).
Communities and NGO delegates to the UNITAID Board:
Dr Esther Tallah, Board member, Communities affected by HIV/AIDS, TB and
malaria, Cameroon Coalition Against Malaria.
Mr. Nelson Otwoma, Alternate Board member, Communities affected by
HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, National Empowerment Network of People Living
with HIV/AIDS in Kenya.
Dr Mohga Kamal-Yanni, Board member, NGOs (outgoing), Oxfam GB.
Ms Kim Nichols, Alternate Board member, NGOs (incoming Board member),
African Services Committee.
Liaison officer, Civil Society Delegations to UNITAID Board
Telephone: +44 (0)1865 473508
Mobile: +44 (0)7879 474766
Email: JHamer at oxfam.org.uk
Oxfam works with others to overcome poverty and suffering.
Oxfam GB is a member of Oxfam International and a company limited by guarantee registered in England No. 612172.
Registered office: Oxfam House, John Smith Drive, Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2JY.
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