[Ip-health] HRC34: Intervention of the United States of America - Panel discussion on access to medicines

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Thu Mar 9 02:23:22 PST 2017


*Intervention of the United States of America**Human Rights Council 34*

*Panel discussion on access to medicines**As Delivered by Robert Waller*

*Geneva, March 8, 2017*

Thank you, Chair.

The United States believes achieving greater access to medicines,
particularly to essential medicines, is a complex challenge.  We are
committed to identifying practical ways to increase access to safe,
effective, and affordable medicines around the world, and to support
policies that drive development of new medicines, including promoting
robust intellectual property rights protection and enforcement systems that
provide a predictable environment in which to invest the billions of
dollars necessary to bring life-saving drugs to market.

Regrettably, today’s panel  has failed to promote these goals as it focuses
solely and inappropriately on advancing the recommendations of the report
of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to

The mandate of today’s panel was to “exchange views on good practices and
key challenges relevant to access to medicines…taking into account all
relevant reports.”  Unfortunately, the concept note for the panel and its
composition suggest a focus on the HLP report that is inconsistent with
what was agreed to in June last year.

As the United States and others have repeatedly made clear, including at
the meeting of the World Health Organization’s Executive Board, the
High-Level Panel operated under a flawed premise.  The HLP report
inappropriately assumes an incoherence between access to medicines,
intellectual property, and trade, and fails to consider critical barriers.
The Panel could not reach consensus on its key recommendations, with two of
the Panelists – the two who had the most extensive experience in research
and development – warning that the Report’s recommendations could result in
serious negative unintended consequences for R&D.  Consequently, today’s
panel should not be used as a basis for the Human Rights Council to further
consider the HLP report or for other future work.

This panel’s narrow focus on the HLP deprives states of the opportunity to
consider the reasons why essential medicines that are off-patent are not
reaching patients in some countries.  Inappropriate tax and tariff
policies, insufficient health systems, inadequate access to financing, or
lack of essential procurement systems  can all serve as internal barriers.
There is nothing preventing Member States from taking immediate domestic
action to reduce these barriers.

In closing, we request that the High Commissioner’s summary report on
today’s panel discussion reflect the concerns we have expressed, including
the concern that the panel’s narrow focus on the HLP is inconsistent with
the mandate in HRC resolution 32/15.  We look forward to continue working
with our partners to address this and other critical issues facing our
countries. Thank you

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