[Ip-health] WTO TRIPS Council (February 2015): Bangladesh statement (on behalf of LDC Group)- Extension of the 2016 transitional period

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Wed Feb 25 04:04:18 PST 2015


WTO TRIPS Council (February 2015): Bangladesh statement (on behalf of LDC
Group)- Extension of the 2016 transitional period

Submitted by thiru <http://keionline.org/user/6> on 25. February 2015 -

On Tuesday, 24 February 2015, Bangladesh, on behalf of the LDC Group,
presented the submission of the LDC Group on an Extension of the
Transitional Period Under Article 66.1 of the TRIPS Agreement for LDC
Members for Certain Obligations with Respect to Pharmaceutical Products in
the following impassioned statement.



Mr. Chair

I speak on behalf of the LDC group. I would like to raise one issue of
extreme importance to our group under this agenda item.

Mr. Chair,

You may recall that our Ministers in Doha recognized the gravity of the
public health problems afflicting many developing and least-developed
countries, especially those resulting from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria
and other epidemics. They also agreed that the TRIPS Agreement did not and
should not prevent Members from undertaking measures to protect public
health. While reiterating their commitment to the TRIPS Agreement, they
affirmed that the Agreement could and should be interpreted and implemented
in a manner supportive of WTO Members' right to protect public health and,
in particular, to promote access to medicines for all. Accordingly, WTO
members adopted the decisions IP/C/25 and WT/L/478 for exempting LDCs from
TRIPS obligations in respect of pharmaceutical products. These decisions
are due to expire on 1 January 2016. Though we have a general TRIPS waiver
up to 2021, considering the gravity of the situation of lack of access to
medicine and proper health care, LDCs require time to reasonably overcome
their public health problem.

Mr. Chair,

You are aware that LDCs represent the weakest and most vulnerable group of
the community of nations. With deficiency and hardship touching all aspects
of life, the population have been suffering from, and are highly
susceptible to different forms of diseases. As a result, there are many
other associated risks and impediments such as access to medicine and
health services.

Access to affordable pharmaceutical products (e.g. medicines, vaccines,
diagnostic kits) is a prerequisite, to deal with the numerous public health
challenges facing LDCs. LDCs are home to some of the world’s most
vulnerable people and they bear considerable health burdens. In 2011, some
9.7 million of the 34 million people living with HIV worldwide, lived in
LDCs. Of the people living with HIV in LDCs, 4.6 million were eligible for
antiretroviral (ARV) treatment in accordance with the 2010 World Health
Organization HIV treatment guidelines, however only 2.5 million were
receiving it. LDCs also bear increasing health burdens from
non-communicable disease. For example, cancer incidence is expected to rise
to 82 percent in 2030 in low-income countries compared to 58 percent in
upper-middle and 40 percent in high-income countries. You may recognize
that not only we lack sound and viable technological base, but we are also
perpetual victims of epidemics such as the Ebola outbreak that has caused
disaster in our some member countries.

Mr. Chair

According to UNAIDS, I quote, “There is concern that without extension of
the transition period, access to antiretroviral therapy and other key
medicines in LDCs will face real challenges”. Explaining the implications
of the failure to renew the transition period beyond 2016, UNAIDS
states that if the transition period is not extended beyond 2016 the
situation regarding availability and pricing of HIV-related medicines will
be more complex than the situation in 2001 when the Doha Declaration was
adopted. The UNAIDS concludes “There is a real danger that if the LDCs do
not get a further extension, the progress that has been made to improve
access to HIV-related medicines in these countries will be reversed”.

It is in this context, we have recently submitted a duly motivated request
for extension of transition period and waiver from certain obligation under
TRIPS. Our request may be found at WTO document IP/C/W/605 dated 23
February 2015.

We would like to be constructively engaged with all WTO membership to
discuss this issue with a view to reaching a consensus on our request.

I thank you.

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