[Ip-health] EU-Thailand FTA: Not at the expense of access to medicines

Khalil Elouardighi gerrold at noos.fr
Thu Sep 19 00:03:01 PDT 2013

Thanks Leila !

Is there any update from DG-Trade as to what Europe is asking *of Thailand*
in the IP, investment and enforcement chapters of the FTA ?


Le 18/09/13 11:16, « Leila Bodeux » <leb at oxfamsol.be> a écrit :

> **
> *JOINT PRESS RELEASE*, 18 September 2013
> Act Up-Paris, Oxfam International, Health Action International and
> Action against AIDS Germany
> *EU-Thailand Free Trade Agreement: Not at the expense of access to
> medicines*
> Following the official launch of the negotiations for a Free Trade
> Agreement (FTA) between the EU and the Kingdom of Thailand in March
> 2013, Thai officials and EU negotiators are meeting this week (16-20
> September) in Chiang Mai, Thailand, to conduct a second round of
> negotiation of a trade agreement that both parties want to achieve in as
> little as 18 months.
> This week, around 5 000 health, consumer, and farming activists from
> various Thai civil society networks are taking part in a campaign to
> defend access to public goods under this FTA. They are organizing a wide
> range of activities such as demonstrations, press conference and meeting
> with the EU delegation.
> Thai health activists want to remind Thai and EU negotiators that the
> FTA should not include Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) that go
> beyond the already stringent WTO obligations (TRIPS agreement). Such
> provisions would only reinforce monopolies of multinational
> pharmaceutical companies, increase the price of medicines and create new
> access barriers to cheap generic medicines.
> They also call on negotiators not to include investment provisions that
> would allow investors (eg. pharmaceutical companies) to legally
> challenge the Thai government in secretive arbitration panels for any
> measures the government may take to curtail, override or strike down
> patents and other forms of IP protection on public health grounds, even
> if it is allowed to take such measures under TRIPS and the Doha
> Declaration.
> **
> Act Up-Paris, Oxfam International, Health Action International and
> Action against AIDS Germany strongly support Thai civil society. EU
> negotiators should take into consideration the importance of access to
> cheap and good quality generic medicines for patients in Thailand when
> negotiating this trade deal. Since 2002, a system of universal health
> coverage exists in Thailand which covers 99% of the population. The
> production and availability of affordable and quality generic medicines
> is a key element to sustain this universal coverage.
> ³We fear that should TRIPS+ measures or dangerous investment provisions
> be included in the Thailand-EU FTA, the ability of the Thai government
> to keep on running the current health system and to provide its citizens
> with the medicines they need might be hampered², says Leïla Bodeux from
> Oxfam International.
> "The EU's position on intellectual property protection in previous FTAs,
> including the earlier failed negotiations between the EU and ASEAN,
> suggests that the EU will push for tough IPRs in this FTA and will grant
> powers to investors, including the pharmaceutical industry, that could
> open for the door to abuses that jeopardize the Thailand government¹s
> efforts to provide health care for all", says Tessel Mellema from HAI.
> ³The EU should refrain from demanding IP provisions that go beyond TRIPS
> as well as harmful investment provisions. In supporting the commercial
> interests of its pharmaceutical industry, the EU is damaging the
> opportunities for innovation and access to medicines in Thailand², says
> Celine Grillon from Act Up-Paris.
> ³There is no human right to the realization of commercial interests, but
> there is a universal right to health! The EU delegates must have this in
> mind, when negotiating terms of the trade agreement with Thailand and
> other countries², says Astrid Berner-Rodoreda from Action against AIDS
> Germany.
> _For more information, please contact:_
> ·Act Up-Paris (France) : Céline Grillon, international at actupparis.org
> <mailto:international at actupparis.org>, + 33 6 50 01 39 10
> ·Health Action International (HAI): Tessel Mellema, tessel at haieurope.org
> <mailto:tessel at haieurope.org>, +31 62 468 67 71 3684
> ·Oxfam International: Leïla Bodeux, leb at oxfamsol.be
> <mailto:leb at oxfamsol.be>, +32 485 94 82 89
> ·Action against AIDS Germany / Aktionsbündnis gegen AIDS: Marco Alves,
> alves at aids-kampagne.de <mailto:alves at aids-kampagne.de>, +49 30 275 824 03
> _Notes to editor:_
> Overreaching IP protection and enforcement restricts and delays
> legitimate competition from generic manufacturers, thereby sustaining
> market monopolies, high monopoly prices, and significantly affecting
> access to affordable treatment. Stringent TRIPS-plus intellectual
> property (IP) provisions in earlier negotiated FTAs have reduced the
> availability of generic medicines, leading to an increase in medicines
> prices[i] <#_edn1>.
> Public health NGOs, the European Parliament, UNAIDS, the UN Development
> Programme, the UK Commission on Intellectual Property Rights and
> Development Policy, the UN Commission on HIV/AIDS and the Law,
> international IP academics, and also the World Health Organization (WHO)
> have recognized the link between TRIPS-plus IP provisions that
> disproportionately favour rights-holders, and poor access to medicines.
> A compulsory license is a TRIPS agreement¹s safeguard that countries are
> allowed to issue to override a drug patent and to enable production or
> importation of a generic medicines. It allows countries to slash down
> drastically the price of live saving drugs that they could not otherwise
> provide to their populations. Since 2007, Thailand has issues several
> compulsory licenses on HIV/AIDS treatment as well as several cancer and
> heart disease medicines. This move put Thailand in the orbit of big
> pharmaceutical groups that felt threatened by that sort of practices.
> The World Bank had estimated in 2006 that if Thailand uses compulsory
> licensing to reduce the cost of second-line antiretroviral therapy to
> treat people living with HIV/AIDS by 90%, the government would reduce
> its future budgetary obligations by US$3.2 billion discounted to
> 2025.[ii] <#_edn2>It is therefore key that the future FTA will not
> impede Thailand to issue compulsory licenses to respond to health needs
> when necessary.
> According to our information, the EU will probably include an
> investor-state dispute provisions in this FTA. Under such mechanism
> pharmaceutical companies can claim that the government's health
> regulations undermine enjoyment of their IP-related "investments". This
> could lead pharmaceutical companies to sue the government of Thailand in
> front of international arbitration panels to overrule measures to
> promote access to medicines, for example the issuance of compulsory
> licenses.
> The US pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly & Co. challenges the Canadian
> government under Chapter 11 of the North American free trade agreement
> (NAFTA) following a Canadian court decision to revoke the company¹s
> patent for the drug Strattera, which is used to treat attention-deficit
> disorder. The drug company is now seeking $500 million in compensation.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> [i] <#_ednref1>All costs, no benefits: How TRIPS - plus intellectual
> property rules in the US-Jordan FTA affect access to medicines, Oxfam
> International (2007),
> http://www.oxfam.org.uk/resources/issues/health/downloads/bp102_trips.pdf.
> A Trade Agreement¹s Impact on Access to Drugs¹ (2010), Ellen R. Shaffer
> and Joseph E. Brenner, CPATH, www.healthaffairs.org
> <http://www.healthaffairs.org>; IFARMA. Impact of the EU Andean Trade
> Agreements on Access to Medicines in Peru. November 2009. HAI Europe.
> http://haieurope.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/11-Nov-2009-Report-IFARMA-Impa
> ct-Study-on-EU-Andean-Trade-Agreement-in-Peru-EN.pdf
> [ii] <#_ednref2>ŒThe Economics of Effective AIDS Treatment¹, Conference
> Edition, World Bank, Washington, 2006
> *
> *

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