[Ip-health] 1 March 2017 - WTO TRIPS Council - Brazil's intervention on the Report of the UN High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Thu Mar 2 22:36:59 PST 2017


Submitted by thiru <http://keionline.org/user/6> on 3. March 2017 - 8:25

On 1 March 2017, Brazil delivered the following statement during WTO TRIPS
Council discussions on the Report of the United Nations High-Level Panel on
Access to Medicines.

High Level Panel

As we all know, on 19 November 2015, United Nations Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon announced the creation of the High-Level Panel on Innovation and
Access to Health Technologies. Responding to this invitation, two chairs
were designated to the panel, namely, Ms. Ruth Dreifuss, from Switzerland,
and Festus Mogae, from Botswana.

The report of the UN Secretary-General's High-Level Panel was produced
after extensive consultations. It builds on previous work in the field of
health and has undergone a transparent, broad consultation process. Its
expert advisory group comprised representatives from Governments and
international organizations, as well as industry and civil society,
promoting a comprehensive evaluation of the various aspects involved in
this debate.

The document contains assessments and recommendations covering various
aspects of access to medicines, an issue that must be examined from
multiple perspectives. The complex interplay between the protection of
intellectual property and the imperative of ensuring access to life-saving
medicines is not a new issue. In WTO, it dates back to at least 2001, when
the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health was adopted by unanimous
Decision; the Panel on the case “Canada – Pharmaceutical Patents”,
circulated in 2000, also addressed the topic. More recently, the United
Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, unanimously adopted by all WTO
Members’ heads of state, also included the right to health as one of its
priority, under Goal number 3.

The High-Level Panel was established to consider additional ways of
providing incentives for both innovation and access. It is not a matter
here of seeking the full endorsement of the report itself, but of reviewing
those individual recommendations related to the activities of the TRIPS
Council. The inputs contained in the report could provide further guidance
for the discussion by WTO Members.

Mr. Chair,

The High Level Panel states that WTO Members should make full use of the
policy space available in Article 27 of the TRIPS Agreement by adopting and
applying rigorous definitions of invention and patentability that curtail
the evergreening, thereby ensuring that only genuine innovations be awarded
with patent rights.

The document further recommends the judicious use of the flexibilities
contained in the TRIPS Agreement in order to ensure access to health
technologies. In this regard, allow me to recall that exceptions and
limitations to IP rights are intrinsic elements of the law of every Member
State. They are vital for striking a balance between the rights granted and
the interests of society at large.

The report also highlights that governments and private sector must refrain
from explicit or implicit threats, tactics or strategies that undermine the
right of WTO Members to use TRIPS flexibilities. Those types of strategies
are against the spirit of the Doha Declaration and the TRIPS Agreement, in
particular articles 7 and 8. Nevertheless, this is something that has been
observed in past years when WTO Members, including Brazil, initiated the
procedures relevant for issuing a compulsory license in order to address
urgent health needs.

Another TRIPS-related issue addressed by the report is the recent entry
into force of the Protocol of Amendment to the TRIPS Agreement. It
demonstrates the need to have mechanisms that allow at the same time the
adequate remuneration to intellectual property rights holders and the
rights of Governments to adopt measures necessary to protect public health,
in line with the provisions of Article 8 of the TRIPS Agreement.

Mr. Chairman,

Brazil has a strong commitment to the improvement of public health and has
been very active on guaranteeing access to medicines. In 2001, we were an
active participant in the negotiations that resulted in the Doha
Ministerial Declaration on TRIPs and Public Health.

Brazil believed then, as it believes now, that respect for intellectual
property and efforts to ensure quality public health and access to
medicines for all are not mutually exclusive. In our view, a balanced
intellectual property system, with built-in flexibilities as well as
complementary policies and incentives, is the best way to promote
innovation in all fields of technology, including the health sciences.

We encourage all WTO Members to join us in discussing the recommendations
of the High Level Panel, as well as to share any other ideas that would
bring us closer to our common goal of ensuring the highest health standards
to the highest number of people.

Lastly, we would like to support continuing the discussion of the High
Level Panel in the next session of the Council.

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