[Ip-health] Bloomberg on patent talks in NCD discussions

Baker, Brook b.baker at neu.edu
Fri Sep 16 11:29:56 PDT 2011

As I am sure people are aware, one reason that the US and EU want to avoid
references to epidemics in the NCD Declaration is, in their twisted minds,
to reduce the risk that countries might consider NCDs "emergencies or
matters of extreme urgency" that do not require prior negotiations for
voluntary licenses on reasonable terms before issuance of compulsory
licenses under Art. 31 of the TRIPS Agreement.  The prior negotiation
requirement has historically been used both to deter and slow down CLs.

In addition, at the level of political rhetoric, by avoiding the term
epidemic, the US and EU hope to maintain that they aren't that serious and
that they do not justify what the US and EU have historically said they
tolerate - only issuance of CL in rare and exceptional circumstances.

Finally, keeping NDCs off the emergency/extreme-urgency list will also
estop some countries that have opted out of the Paragraph 6 export/import
system from seeking cheaper medicines from other countries.

All of this is done at the behest of Big Pharma that is obsessing over the
prospects of huge NCD markets in middle income countries where hundreds of
millions of patients need such products.  Why let generics get in the way
of monopoly profits?

Professor Brook K. Baker

Health GAP (Global Access Project)
Northeastern U. School of Law
Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy
400 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115 USA
Honorary Research Fellow, University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban, S. Africa
(w) 617-373-3217
(cell) 617-259-0760
(fax) 617-373-5056
b.baker at neu.edu

On 9/16/11 1:15 PM, "Jamie Love" <james.love at keionline.org> wrote:

>I don't know how to interpret Fred Abbott's comments at the end of this
>story.  What he said is exactly true, but as presented, it could have been
>said by USTR or Pfizer.
>More generally however, the US and EU negotiators quoted as saying how
>important it is to keep Doha out.
>"The U.S. and EU argued for the references to be deleted because it would
>establish a new interpretation of a 2001 World Trade Organization
>declaration on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights."
>So, if they believe it is really important to keep references to Doha out
>the UN resolution, why are developing countries caving in?   Jamie
>Jason Gale and Duane Stanford (Bloomberg), "Nestle, Glaxo Lobby UN Over
>Biggest ŒEpidemic¹ Battle Since AIDS," published in Businessweek.com,
>September 16, 2011
>Forced Licenses
>One of the chief issues in the talks is a proposal backed by G77 countries
>about allowing drugs still under patent to be made by other suppliers to
>reduce costs for treatment of epidemics. The U.S. and EU argued for the
>references to be deleted because it would establish a new interpretation
>a 2001 World Trade Organization declaration on Trade-Related Aspects of
>Intellectual Property Rights.
>The EU and U.S. pushed to remove references to ³epidemic² to avoid making
>implicit link between the declaration and non-communicable diseases.
>Instead, the revised draft document describes the diseases as ³a challenge
>of epidemic proportions.²
>Asked what concern the U.S. has with the word ³epidemic,² Andy Laine, a
>spokesman for the State Department in Washington, said he couldn¹t ³go
>specifics² about ongoing talks.
>U.S. Engagement
>³The United States remains closely engaged in the negotiations and we look
>forward to concluding a political declaration that reflects the strong
>commitment of the international community to pursue the range of actions
>that will reduce the impact of non-communicable diseases in countries
>the world,² Laine said in an e-mail.
>The U.S. and EU are trying to put pressure on other governments not to
>compulsory drug licenses, said Frederick M. Abbott, a professor of
>international law at Florida State University College of Law in
>U.S. and EU drugmakers face slower revenue growth in their home markets as
>patents expire, allowing competitors to make cheaper versions of their
>best-selling medicines. They¹re looking to emerging markets to expand
>Abbott said.
>³Any compromise on the issue of patents would from their standpoint begin
>erosion of their earnings potential,² said Abbott, who advised South
>when it was sued by 39 drugmakers for making cheaper AIDS medicines
>available for its people. Compulsory licenses pose a ³significant threat
>their prospects for long-term profitability on a significant scale,² he
>--With assistance from Simeon Bennett in Geneva, Clementine Fletcher in
>London, Allison Connolly in Frankfurt and Nicole Gaouette in Washington.
>Editors: Adam Majendie, Michael Tighe, Bret Okeson.
>James Love.  Knowledge Ecology International
>http://www.keionline.org, +1.202.332.2670, US Mobile: +1.202.361.3040,
>Geneva Mobile: +41.76.413.6584, efax: +1.888.245.3140.
>James Love.  Knowledge Ecology International
>http://www.keionline.org, +1.202.332.2670, US Mobile: +1.202.361.3040,
>Geneva Mobile: +41.76.413.6584, efax: +1.888.245.3140.
>Ip-health mailing list
>Ip-health at lists.keionline.org

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