[Ip-health] US, AU and CA try to block WTO LDC drug patent waiver because PhRMA's not happy enough with the TPP

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Mon Oct 12 04:20:33 PDT 2015


US, AU and CA try to block WTO LDC drug patent waiver because PhRMA's not
happy enough with the TPP

Submitted by thiru on 12. October 2015 - 12:18

Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) meet this week in Geneva (15
October 2015 - 16 October 2015) to decide if the poorest countries on earth
are exempt from WTO rules for pharmaceutical patents. The WTO's TRIPS
Council is expected to make a decision in respect of the request of the LDC
Group's request for indefinite exemption from TRIPS obligations on
pharmaceutical patents. Thus far, developing countries, the World Health
Organization, the United Nations Development Programme, UNAIDS, Norway, the
Holy See, the European Commission, Senator Sanders, and Representatives Jan
Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), Raúl
M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and
Sam Farr (D-Calif.) have expressed unequivocal support for the LDC request.

Australia, Canada, Switzerland and the United States of America currently
oppose the LDC Group's request for an indefinite exemption - (extension
until graduation) - from trade rules on pharmaceuticals. Informed sources
have indicated that Australia received instructions from Canberra that it
could not agree to an indefinite exemption.

Ambassador Michael Punke (Deputy United States Trade Representative and
U.S. Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the World Trade
Organization and Chris Wilson (Deputy Chief of Mission, the U.S. Mission to
the World Trade Organization) are leading USTR negotiations on the LDC

On Friday, 9 October 2015, Ambassador Punke met with 15 Ambassadors from
the LDC Group. Ambassador Punke clearly indicated that the US could not
agree on an indefinite exemption because certain stakeholders in the United
States were quite upset with concessions made by USTR during the final
stages of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Informed sources noted that
the US indicated that "the TPP did not deliver as expected on IP and so we
are under a lot of pressure not to give in more on IP. "

In the words of the LDC Group, "It would be unconscionable for WTO Members
to grant LDCs – the most vulnerable segment of countries – a time limited
transition period, requiring them to repeatedly seek extensions." (Source:
Statement of LDC Group, June 2015, TRIPS Council).

It is deplorable the poorest countries on earth are being held hostage by
USTR's fear of BIO, PhRMA and Senator Hatch's post-TPP blowback.

James Love, Director of Knowledge Ecology International said, "It's time
for Michael Froman to stand up to big pharma and to not sully the
reputation of the Obama administration by attacking the most vulnerable
people on earth."

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