Minutes - TRIPS Council - View details of the intervention/statement

Mr. Martin Glass (Hong Kong, China)
World Health Organization (WHO)
F.4 Capacity building on the Paragraph 6 System and related TRIPS flexibilities
234. The representative of the WHO noted that his organization's work emphasized the use of TRIPS flexibilities. The way in which member states implemented Article 27 of the TRIPS Agreement, how they defined what was new, what was an inventive step and what was capable of industrial application, had a great impact on what could be patented under national patent laws. This provision, therefore, offered public policy options, which might be called flexibilities under the TRIPS Agreement. The WHO had not studied or commissioned a study as to why the Paragraph 6 System had only been used once. Member states had not requested such a study, perhaps because the System was part of the WTO framework. 235. He said that the needs of LDCs received particular attention in the WHO's work. It had participated actively in the workshops on the LDCs needs assessment organized by the WTO Secretariat, including the recent workshop in Bangladesh and the forthcoming workshop in Senegal which was directed to the needs assessment of French-speaking African LDCs. However, the WHO had not received any request with regard to the implementation of the System from LDCs or other developing countries, nor had it received any request with respect to the regional dimension of the System. With regard to the bilateral free trade agreements and their impact on the WHO's work, he referred to the Global Strategy, which urged governments to take into account, where appropriate, of the impact on public health when considering adopting or implementing more extensive intellectual property protection than was required by the TRIPS Agreement, without prejudice to the sovereign rights of member states. The WHO gave advice and technical assistance to its member states to the effect that, when they entered into agreements that went beyond the level of protection provided by the TRIPS Agreement, they should carry out a public health impact assessment in order to take an informed decision on the agreement they were envisaging to enter into.