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

Ambassador Alfredo Suescum (Panama)
219. The delegation of Japan shares the view that access to medicines is an important issue. From our experience, we have found that various factors, besides intellectual property, have a strong correlation with this issue. 220. We believe that financial incentives for the development of new drugs promote R&D and bring benefits to people around the world. Therefore, the appropriate protection of intellectual property rights plays a critical role in providing incentives to find innovative tools to save millions of lives in the world as has been the case. Although discussions on the issue of access to medicines have been conducted at several organizations of the United Nations including the World Health Organization (WHO), it seems that the results of these discussions have not been sufficiently reflected in the High Level Panel Report. For example, the joint report made by the WHO, WIPO, and WTO in 2013 reported that "the WHO framework for access to medicines recognizes that lack of access to medical technologies is rarely due to a single isolated factor and thus includes rational selection and use of medicines". 221. Japan shares the view of the importance of dealing with the issue of access to medicines for orphan diseases, neglected tropical diseases, and other diseases lacking market incentives as raised in the Report. However, the scope of the Report is rather limited, focusing only on "policy incoherencies between the justifiable rights of inventors, international human rights law, trade rules and public health in the context of health technologies". We believe that access to medicines is affected by a variety of other factors such as health systems governance, the quality and quantity of human resources for health, access to medical facilities, and supply systems of medicines in the country. Furthermore, Japan would like to point out that the recommendation of this Report neither reflects the opinions of, nor has been endorsed by, UN Members working to solve the issue by supporting global health. 222. While this delegation does not intend an in-depth substantive discussion, we believe that this issue could be dealt with more effectively by taking a more comprehensive approach towards the multiple factors already discovered in the existing work, rather than focusing on the narrow issues considered in the High Level Panel Report.
The Council took note of the statements made.
63. The Chairman recalled that Brazil, China, India and South Africa had requested that this item be added to the agenda of the Council's meeting in November 2016. To introduce the item, they had also submitted a communication (document IP/C/W/619).

64. In the course of that discussion, the delegation of South Africa had requested that this item be continued as an ad hoc item at the next meeting and the Council so agreed.

65. Since this was a continuation of the discussion had held at the Council's meeting in November 2016, he briefly summarized what had been said at that meeting. According to the co sponsors, the request to add this item to the Council's agenda had been intended to facilitate an exchange of views on the recommendations of the High Level Panel, as well as to share national experiences regarding the use of TRIPS flexibilities. At the meeting in November 2016, some delegations had welcomed the discussion of the report in this Council while others had said that they needed more time to consider the recommendations. Some delegations had expressed concern about the narrow scope of the report and had noted that it had neither been mandated nor endorsed by Members of the United Nations.

66. The representatives of India; Bangladesh on behalf of the LDC Group; Brazil; South Africa; China; Indonesia; Nigeria on behalf of the African Group; Egypt; the United States; Japan; Canada; the Republic of Korea; Norway; the European Union; Switzerland; Australia; Chinese Taipei; and Chile took the floor.

67. The representative of the World Health Organization took the floor.

68. The Council took note of the statements made.

IP/C/M/85, IP/C/M/85/Add.1