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

Mr. Martin Glass (Hong Kong, China)
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
280. Referring to the statement by his Health Minister which had been quoted by Canada, the representative of Egypt outlined his delegation's perspective on the issue of counterfeit medicines. He referred to a statement made by Minister Hatem Elgabaly at the 63rd Session of the World Health Assembly. On this occasion, he had said that "the quality, safety, and efficacy of medicines is a primary concern of national drug regulatory regimes. Likewise, the World Health Organization has an important role to undertake in supporting these efforts of its member States. We believe that the activities of the WHO in this regard should be given more focus and clarity. There needs to be a clear distinction between on one hand, ensuring the quality, safety and efficacy of medicine, which is a public health issue directly within the remit of the WHO, and on the other hand, the issue of counterfeiting, which is a term pertaining to the field of intellectual property, and specifically, a problem of trademark violation, as referred to in the World Trade Organization TRIPS Agreement. As such, this latter issue should be dealt with under relevant national IP legislation, and pertinent national IP enforcement procedures, and multilaterally, it should be dealt with at the more competent Geneva-based organizations, chiefly the WTO and WIPO. At the WHO, attention should be paid and solutions must be urgently found from a public health perspective and not through the lens of intellectual property rights. By bringing more clarity to the issue at hand, we can note that sub-standard medicines lacking in quality, safety and efficacy represent a far larger risk to public health than counterfeit medicines. These two classes should not be confounded and particularly so at the WHO which has a clear mandate relating to public health."