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

Ambassador Mero (United Republic of Tanzania)
13 The United Nations Secretary-General's High-Level Panel Report on Access to Medicines
590. Brazil is pleased to be a co-sponsor, alongside with China, India and South Africa, of the agenda item on the United Nations Secretary-General's High-Level Panel Report on Access to Medicines. 591. The HLP on access to medicines was established to implement one of the recommendations of the Global Commission on the HIV and the law. This Commission, as many will remember, was comprised of eminent authorities and chaired by the former Brazil President, Fernando Henrique Cardoso. On 19 November 2015, UN SG Ban Ki-moon announced the creation of the High-Level Panel on Innovation and Access to Health Technologies. In outlining its mandate, the Secretary-General guided the panellists to "review and assess proposals and recommend solutions for remedying the policy and coherence between the justifiable rights of inventors, international human rights law, trade rules and public health in the context of health technologies". The HLP was co-chaired by the former President of the Swiss Confederation, Ruth Dreifuss and by the former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae. Its final report was released last September as we all know and some of its recommendations are directly related to the TRIPS Agreement. One of these calls for WTO Members to commit at the highest political levels to respect the letter and the spirit of the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health refraining from any action that will limit their implementation and use in order to promote access to health technologies. 592. More specifically, it recommends: (1) WTO Members should make full use of the policy space available in Article 27 of the TRIPS Agreement by adopting and applying rigorous definitions of invention and patentability that curtail the evergreening to ensure that patents are only awarded when genuine innovation has occurred; (2) enhanced cooperation among The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) and with other relevant bodies with the requisite expertise to support governments to apply public health-sensitive patentability criteria; (3) it also recommends these multilateral organizations to strengthen the capacity of patent examiners at both national and regional levels to apply rigorous public health-sensitive standards of patentability taking into account public health needs; (4) governments should adopt and implement legislation that facilitates the issuance of compulsory licences. Such legislation must be designed to effectuate quick, fair, predictable and implementable compulsory licences for legitimate public health needs, and particularly with regards to essential medicines. The use of compulsory licensing must be based on the provisions found in the Doha Declaration and the grounds for the issuance of compulsory licences left to the discretion of governments; (5) governments and the private sector must refrain from explicit or implicit threats, tactics or strategies that undermine the right of WTO Members to use TRIPS flexibilities. 593. Brazil has a strong commitment to the improvement of public health in our country and in our region. To increase the bargaining power of governments in the acquisition of essential medicines, Brazil has established in 2015 a regional system of procurement for lifesaving drugs. This arrangement with the participation of most South American countries is one sort of innovative mechanisms aimed at helping countries to cope with high prices of pharmaceuticals. 594. Engaging in the discussions of recommendations by the HLP might allow Members to consider different aspects of the relationship between access to medicines and the patent system. Brazil is convinced that the balanced and effective IP System would go a long way towards facilitating access to essential medicines without in any way infringing on market principles. 595. We all know access to medicines is a challenge for most countries whether least developed, developing or developed. We present these views in the spirit of dialogue, convinced that they are in the interest of everyone without exception and encourage the whole Membership to work constructively towards achieving the goal of universal access to medicines. 596. Brazil understands it is important for the TRIPS Council to pay due attention to the issues and recommendations raised by the UN SG HLP. We would be most interested in the continuation of this discussion in the next TRIPS Council session as well.
The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to take the matter up as an ad hoc agenda item at its next meeting.
70. The Chairman said that Brazil, China, India and South Africa had requested that this item be added to the agenda. They had submitted a communication that briefly introduced the item, circulated in document IP/C/W/619.

71. The representatives of India, Brazil, South Africa, China, Ecuador, Egypt, Indonesia, Bangladesh, the Russian Federation, the United States, Canada, the European Union, Chile, Australia, Switzerland, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Plurinational State of Bolivia and Norway took the floor.

72. The representatives of the Holy See, WHO, UNCTAD, and UNAIDS took the floor.

73. The representative of the Secretariat took the floor.

74. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to take the matter up as an ad hoc agenda item at its next meeting.

IP/C/M/83, IP/C/M/83/Add.1