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

Ambassador Dacio Castillo (Honduras)
World Trade Organization
122. Drawing on the details that were set out in the overall report on technical cooperation in the area of TRIPS provided by the Secretariat (IP/C/W/577), the representative of the Secretariat said that the focus in technical cooperation on TRIPS and public health continued to rest on assisting Members to understand the rights and obligations, including the available options which flowed from the TRIPS Agreement and subsequent decisions of the WTO bodies in the light of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health. A key aspect was the cooperation with other intergovernmental organizations, in particular the WHO and WIPO. There was a continuing emphasis on strengthening coordination both on the provision of technical cooperation and the provision of background information in support of that activity. Complementarity and cooperation meant that the scope of policy tools considered and the scope of information had broadened to encompass the overall context of public health, innovation and access issues. 123. As an example of the work that was undertaken, he referred to the Workshop on Intellectual Property and Public Health, the eighth in the series that had been held in Geneva in October 2012. Organized in close collaboration with the WHO and WIPO, and with the involvement of other international organizations such as UNCTAD, the workshop had been held principally for the benefit of developing country Members and LDCs, but some developed country participants had also attended. It had provided an overview of the key issues involving both the innovation of new medicines and medical technologies, as well as the strategies for an effective access and the dissemination of the fruits of innovation in the field of public health. It had addressed the key concepts and measures under the TRIPS Agreement and other international instruments, focusing on the public health-related provisions of the TRIPS Agreement and flexibilities that enabled Members to adapt their systems to meet public health objectives. A key feature of the Workshop had been to take advantage of the policy ecosystem in Geneva which enabled the organizers to draw on experts with a wide range of expertise, experience and background, including non-governmental organizations such as Medicines for Malaria Venture, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations, and Médecins Sans Frontières. Some of the themes beyond the TRIPS Agreement that were covered included the role of competition rules; pricing and procurement policies and strategies; the use of patent landscaping as a guide to policy makers; the impact of provisions in bilateral and regional trade agreements; the economics of health technologies; the operational aspects of the international patent system, including the use of information on patents and on their legal status for freedom to operate; data on access to medicines and medicine prices; current issues, such as the challenges regarding prevention and control of non-communicable diseases as well as the essential elements of medicines policy; the regulatory process, quality control and effectiveness of medicines, including counterfeit, falsified and sub-standard medicines; licensing practices; and a wide range of country reports and national policy perspectives by a number of participants and delegates from Nepal, South Africa, Botswana, Oman, Ghana, Honduras, Colombia, the EU, the US, Brazil, India and Switzerland. Participants from developing countries had reported on the domestic implementation and use of the System and the implementation of other TRIPS flexibilities in their national law, experiences in reforming domestic legislation to enhance the synergy between health and trade objectives, and experiences in negotiating bilateral and regional trade agreements with bearing on intellectual property and public health. As part of a side event, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development had briefed participants in cooperation with UNCTAD and the South Centre on technical cooperation activities relating to fostering pharmaceutical production by using TRIPS flexibilities. 124. IP and public health had also been a key thematic focus of a range of other activities, in particular three regional workshops in Kuwait for Arab and Middle Eastern countries, in Malaysia for Asia and the Pacific Region, and in Croatia for the Central Eastern European, Central Asia and Caucasian Region. At the request of a number of Members, TRIPS and public health had also been specifically addressed in national workshops. 125. The representative of the Secretariat informed the Council about the forthcoming trilateral study on "Promoting Access and Medical Innovation - Intersections between Public Health, Intellectual Property and Trade" that was being prepared together with the WHO and WIPO. The publication tracked closely the content and themes of technical cooperation activities and consolidated the material used in such activities, notably the series of trilateral symposia that the three Organizations had convened, as well as the series of workshops on IP and public health. It was intended to serve as a factual and comprehensive platform for continued technical cooperation and capacity building in this area. An outline had been presented in 2011 at a high-level symposium of the Global health programme of the Graduate Institute, chaired by Madame Ruth Dreifuss, in which the Directors-General of the three cooperating Organizations had taken part.