[Ip-health] Open letter from CS delegates on UNITAID Board, re: Medicines Patent Pool

Jessica Hamer 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.

Jessica Hamer
Liaison officer, Civil Society Delegations to UNITAID Board
Telephone:    +44 (0)1865 473508
Mobile:            +44 (0)7879 474766
Email:              JHamer at oxfam.org.uk
Skype:             'jessica.hamer'

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Registered office: Oxfam House, John Smith Drive, Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2JY.
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