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

Mr. Martin Glass (Hong Kong, China)
European Union
F.5 Any alternatives to the use of the Paragraph 6 System to achieve the objective of access to medicines, procurement policies, and other related aspects affecting access to medicines
277. The representative of the European Union said that the System was a measure among many others that could contribute to improving access to medicines in the developing world. He highlighted some of the reasons that could explain why the System had not been used frequently. First, a number of medicines were simply no long under patent protection. For those medicines, there was therefore no need for a compulsory licence, and therefore no need to invoke the System. Secondly, least developed country Members were not obliged to implement their obligations under the TRIPS Agreement regarding patents and undisclosed information in the pharmaceutical sector until 1 January 2016. Until then, those countries who had not implemented the TRIPS Agreement could import medicines without making use of compulsory licensing. Finally, developing countries in need could use all available channels to ensure access to affordable medicines. Those included the use of the existing TRIPS flexibilities, direct negotiations with the pharmaceutical companies, public-private partnerships and donations. With regard to the efforts made by the European Union to facilitate access to medicines, he recalled that his delegation was taking an active part in promoting access to medicines in developing countries. It was the biggest provider of resources to support health policies in developing countries. Projects and programmes funded by the European Union in developing countries covered a wide range of activities, research, production, procurement and delivery, including quality control. It was associated with a number of WHO programmes for research and development and capacity building. It was also one of the oldest and biggest contributors to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and had donated EUR 872 million since 2002. Under its cooperation programme in the form of the Seventh Research and Development Framework Programme covering the period 2007-2013, the European Union had allocated a total of EUR 6.1 billion to help research and development worldwide. Moreover, it had also set up a tiered pricing mechanism for the supply of cheaper medicines to developing countries. His delegation remained fully committed to facilitating access of medicines in the developing world and to making the System work.