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
609. Ecuador would like to thank Brazil, China, India and South Africa for having requested that this item be included on our agenda. Access to medicines is a matter of importance to all countries and in particular for developing countries and LDCs. We therefore welcome the High-Level Panel Report on this matter requested by the UN Secretary-General. The Panel did refer to the TRIPS Agreement and its flexibilities and in particular to the need for governments to ensure that they have legislation covering compulsory licences in order to ensure that people have access to medicines. 610. I would like briefly to refer to my country's experience of compulsory licences in order to ensure access to medicines. In 2009 through Decree 118, our Government declared that access to medicines was a matter of public interest. The Decree meant that domestic and foreign labs were able to request for compulsory licences for medicines in order to manufacture them and sell them domestically. Following research and the development of principles for the development of generic low-cost medicines, we then set up ENFARMA, a corporate body that is responsible for ensuring that people have access to medication which they need to treat their illnesses. EIP, our intellectual property office, did adopt compulsory licences covering such medications, including anti-retrovirals. The Ministry of Public Health provides these medications at no cost for the treatment of patients suffering from HIV/AIDS. These licences were granted because EIP data indicated that there were some 37 people with the virus that causes HIV/AIDS. As a result of seeing this data and with the compulsory licences some 30% to 70% savings were allowed for the Ministry in the purchase of this medication. In addition to the licences for anti-retrovirals, we subsequently had licences for medication for the treatment of other diseases causing acute pains and this, for instance, involved diseases requiring kidney transplants and then also medication for dealing with kidney cancer and gastrointestinal tumours and medication against arthritis which was one of the first licences granted for a biotechnology produced drug. As a result of these measures, it is the hope of our Government that there will be significant savings when it comes to providing medication. This will also serve to strengthen our medical services and allow us to replace the imported drugs with domestically produced medication.
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