[Ip-health] Intervention of Medicus Mundi International/People's Health Movement on Item 9.5 Regulatory system strengthening: EB134

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Thu Jan 23 06:31:30 PST 2014

MMI-PHM Statement:

Thank you, Chair, for the opportunity of addressing the Executive Board on
behalf of Medicus Mundi International and the People’s Health Movement.

The report presented in EB134/29 provides an overview of various programs
which the Member States have commissioned over many years to promote high
quality, safe, effective and appropriately used medical products.
Unfortunately this suite of programs has been seriously underfunded as WHO
has come to depend more and more on donor funding.

The underfunding of the Rational use of medicines program and WHO’s Ethical
criteria for pharmaceutical marketing have undoubtedly contributed to the
crisis in anti-microbial resistance. However, one of the major drivers of
AMR is aggressive, saturation marketing funded through monopoly prices
derived from extreme IP protection. There is no way publicly funded
rational drug use agencies can match this sort of expenditure.

As the debate regarding SSFFC has progressed it has become clear that
shortfalls in national medicines regulation, due in part to the
underfunding of WHO’s work in this field, have provided significant
leverage for the so-called ‘anti-counterfeiting’ movement to prosecute
their extreme IP agenda.

There has been close attention to the role of non-state actors at this EB
but new light has recently been cast on the problem of conflict of interest
with the revelations from South Africa over the last few days.
Notwithstanding the shame of their previous attack on South Africa from
1998 to 2001 the global pharmaceutical companies are now seeking to
undermine the sovereign right of the South African government to adopt an
Intellectual Property Policy which ensures access to medical products while
remaining fully compliant with its TRIPS obligations.
It may be time for WHO, through this EB, to show public support for South
Africa in the face of this attack.

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